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The Importance of Periodization Training

It’s important to understand that the body has a very cool and effective ability to adapt to anything. At the same time, when it comes to increasing physical enhancement, our bodies need a change of stimulus; we have to alter patterns of movement and increase the amount of resistance placed upon the body. The body will only respond when it has a demand placed upon it that it has never dealt with before; this is referred to as the maximum overload principle.

Understanding How the Body Responds to Physical Stimuli

By alternating stimuli and forcing the body to work to adapt, we increase the number of muscle fibers that are broken down and we write new neurological patterns in the brain. This ultimately makes us stronger, faster, and more efficient. It will also increase proprioceptive awareness, help with weight loss, increase lean muscle, and enhance cognitive function.

Periodization Training – What You Need to Know

The key to achieving all this is periodization training. Periodization training is a type of program that has set goals which are divided into a series of cycles. A periodization training program can be set up differently for everyone; it’s only dictated by the individual’s personal goals. Again, the focus of each cycle is personalized to the client’s unique fitness goals or training goals. Any protocol can be altered according to the individual’s specific goals, but your body needs a chance to adapt to one before moving into another phase. It will typically take about 4-16 workouts for an athlete or fitness client to adapt to their workout plan, and this is the ideal point when exercises should be altered or changed.

Customize Your Periodization Training Program

Here are a few examples of how simple it is to alter or customize your training program in order to maximize the benefits: (your trainer can guide you in customizing your program effectively)

  • Increase or decrease the number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise (depending on your goal)
  • Increase the amount of resistance
  • Shorten the rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
  • Change the order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
  • Increase the speed at which you complete each exercise

Supporting Evidence: Periodization Training Gets Results

The most cited study conducted on the enhanced benefits of periodization training (as compared to non periodization training) was done at the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University. It shows that a periodized strength-training program can produce better results than a non-periodized program.

Don’t Expect Results from Repetition Alone

I cannot emphasize enough just how important periodization training is any to anyone looking to increase and improve their strength, speed, endurance, stability, or any other fitness goal they’ve set. Following the same program month after month will leave you stuck in the mud, expecting results that you are not going to get from sticking with the same routine repeatedly. Einstein said it best – his definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, get on it! Start periodizing your routines, meeting your goals, and enjoying the results that you deserve to have.

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Why High Reps Are Better For Gaining Weight Fast

Most bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts trying to gain weight fast are always told that in order to gain muscle mass they should stick to heavy weights for low reps.

This weight training myth stems from many believing that “heavy weights for low reps” are for “size”, and that “light weights for high reps” are for “endurance”.

Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

As a matter of fact, if gaining muscle weight is a challenge for you, heavy sets with low reps could be a huge mistake.

Why do I say this?

Well, the European Journal of Applied Physiology posted some research done on how different gene-types in the body responds to different workout routines, based on sets, weight, and reps.

What they discovered was significant.

First off, there are basically two different kinds of gene make-ups for every individual:

1) ACE II

2) ACE DD

In one of the studies conducted, scientists took 99 weight trainers and placed them on two types of workout routines:

o One workout program was made up of multiple sets for high reps and lighter weight (reps were in the 12-15 per set).

o The other workout routine was made up of multiple sets for low reps with heavier weight (reps were in the 8-12 per set).

What they found was that the weight trainers that had a harder time gaining weight and muscle had predominantly ACE II genes.

These individuals responded great to the higher reps for lighter weight program.

Yet, when following the lower reps for heavier weight routine, they made no progress at all in terms of building muscle mass.

Sure, they may have gotten stronger, but we’re focusing on gaining muscle weight and size, not strength.

(No, size and strength don’t go hand in hand, as many would have you believe. Which is a huge reason why most natural bodybuilders / fitness enthusiasts never truly achieve their goals. They get stronger, but not bigger. Is this the case with you??)

One of the reasons for why higher rep training is much better for those that are predominantly ACE II is because they have greater tissue oxygenation, which can elevate contracting of the heart and skeletal tissue.

More reasons why higher reps are better than lower rep for heavy weights to gain weight fast:

o The high volume of blood forced through the veins and arteries while working out with high reps will carry with it important muscle building nutrients to feed the training muscles.

o High rep training enhances capillary density (the thickness of the capillaries within the muscle).

o High rep training increases the diameter (size) of the blood vessels within the muscle.

o High rep training stimulates the formation of new blood vessels.

…..all of which are responsible for making your muscles bigger in size and mass.

(Hey, isn’t that what you’re after in the first place????)

Leave the heavy weights for low reps to the powerlifters.

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Important Facts About Steps Aerobics You Should Know

If you are an enthusiastic fan of most aerobic exercises, you may have considered escalating your workout intensity with step aerobics equipment. The objective of participating in step aerobics are the mostly the same as other aerobics workouts which is to raise your heart rate and maintain it for at least twenty minutes and at the same time toning your muscles and burning fat. Step aerobics will help you achieve all these goals, while adding an extra dimension to your exercise program. To start with step aerobics program, you can sign up for a step aerobics class, or you can purchase the stepper with the instructional videos learn to do it at home.

The advantages of step aerobics are:

1) It adds extra fun to your regular exercise routine

2) It is simple and easy to learn

3) The equipment is fairly cheap

4) It utilizes the large muscles of the lower legs which helps strengthen those muscles

5) It strengthens the tendons and ligaments that connect the muscles and the bones to each other

How To Use Step Aerobics Equipment

You can buy a book or video or even join the local gymnasium to learn step aerobics. However, you can also simply begin with simple exercises by just stepping onto the platform and then stepping down. These simple exercises can then progress steadily from simple steps to more complicated aerobics routines.

Besides that, you can also increase the rapidity of the steps or raise the aerobics step platform which will result in increased fitness and skill. The step aerobics exercises can grow in complexity as you become more proficient.

The step aerobics exercise are usually choreographed to music just like other aerobics routines, but instead of exercising with side to side movements on the floor, you will be exercising vertically by stepping up and down from the platform of your stepper. The most important thing to an effective workout is to be observant of your posture. Always keep your head up, your shoulders back, and your back straight as you do your workout. When stepping onto the platform, your foot should be solidly on the surface and when you step down from it, your feet should stay close to the back of the stepper. This is to avoid the back strain of lunging backwards.

When you step on a steps aerobics platform there is no shock experienced by your joints.

Cost Of Step Aerobics Equipment

If you have decided to purchase your own set of step aerobics equipment, you should know that it will cost you anywhere from $30 to $100. However, if you can afford to purchase a higher end model, you will get some advantage. These more expensive models are usually adjustable in height so that it can accommodate different skill levels or workout intensities.

For a beginner a four inch step is sufficient, but when you increase your intensity, you can raise the aerobics stepper in two-inch increments. This is why the more expensive model which is adjustable may be more economical in the long run.

However, if you have a low budget, or you want to try out step aerobics without buying the equipment first, any household item can be an adequate substitute. You can use things such as a block of wood, a milk crate, or, even a short stool which can act as a raised platform for you to start practicing step aerobics.

Precautions To Take During Step Aerobics

As with any regular exercise activities, there are certain precautions that you should take when participating in step aerobics. One such precaution is to make sure that you execute step aerobics exercise routines properly.

Some of the proper techniques of working out with step aerobics are:

1) Stepping up onto the platform using the entire soul of your foot

2) Being close to the step when stepping up

3) Alternate the legs used to step up and down

4) Perform no more than five consecutive step ups per leg

5) Do not allow your knee to lock

6) Step up to and down from the step softly

Other precautions you must take include utilizing a step or platform that is at the proper height. This range is usually determined by the expertise of the step aerobic exercise participant. A height of four inches is usually suitable for a beginner and a 12 inches high platform only suitable for an expert.

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Everlast Resistance Bands – 3 Common Mistakes To Avoid

If you’re interested in purchasing Everlast resistance bands, then you may want to sit and read every single word in this article and find out 3 common mistakes people make when shopping for exercise tubing. After reading this article, you’ll be more aware of what to avoid and ultimately it will save you money so, that you in turn do not make the same mistakes.

Mistake #1: “You Decide to Buy Exercise Tubes That Only Allow One Band to Be Attached to the Handle. “

People make this mistake way too often, they find a set of bands that are already attached to the handle and they come with 78 or less of tension. Here’s the problem with this mistake. To get the progressive resistance that you need to build muscle you need more weight or resistance. In order to get more attention, you will need to spend more money. So, your initial $40 bucks turns into $80 or more. Which may then turn into $120, you get the idea? If you will do some looking around you will find a manufacturer that offers a product that allows you to attach multiple tubes to one handle. So that in essence what you have is an adjustable dumbbell. In fact, they also use what’s called a “door anchor” which will allow you to do additional exercise movements. With this home gym called Bodylastics you’ll be able to do more than 140 different muscle building movements. Make sure that if you consider the Everlast resistance bands that you purchase the door anchor.

Mistake #2: “They Purchase a Set of Exercise Tubing That Doesn’t Come with a Replacement or Defects Warranty.”

This is a very big mistake in our opinion. You see, after a while all bands or tubes will lose their tensile strength. At this point you know how much resistance you are getting. That’s why it’s crucial to find a manufacturer that will offer a replacement or defects warranty. In our research we have only found two companies that offer a defects or replacement warranty. These two companies are Bodylastics and Ripcords. With either of these two companies if you’re bands should snap break or crack they will replace them sometimes for free. Other times, they will just charge you a small amount of money for shipping and handling.

Mistake #3: “They Don’t Know How Much Tension or Resistance They’re Getting.”

While on the surface you might think that this is unlikely, there are many manufacturers that will not tell you on their website exactly how much tension each band will provide you. This makes it all but impossible to workout properly. You see, the essence of building muscle and getting ripped is a principle called progressive resistance. You must strive each and every workout to use more and more tension. If you cannot track exactly how much tension you are using an each workout you will not be able to build muscle size. Even if your goal is to tone your muscles, it still very important to be able to measure and monitor your growth.

We have discussed three of the biggest mistakes that people make when buying any type of resistance bands. Make sure that the system you purchase allows you to attach multiple bands to one handle. Next, purchase only a system that comes with some kind of replacement or defects warranty. And finally, make sure that they clearly spell out exactly how much tension each fan or two will provide you.

By avoiding these three mistakes you are well on your way to not only save money by getting a home gym that will help you reach your bodybuilding and fitness goals. Keep these tips in mind when you go out to buy Everlast resistance bands.

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Isometric Exercise, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bodybuilding

What do Isometric Exercise, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bodybuilding all have in common?

You may be surprised to learn that Isometrics has been used in bodybuilding workout routines since it was first discovered. Arnold Schwarzenegger was probably its biggest proponent.

If you have ever wondered how bodybuilders utilized isometric exercise as part of their bodybuilding routines then … read this article and discover why every single bodybuilder uses isometrics in their workouts and in getting ready for a competition!

You would think that bodybuilders — the guys that throw weights around as if they were plastic dolls would never use isometric exercise in their bodybuilding routines wouldn’t you? However, the exact opposite is true.

In this article, I will give you two examples of where bodybuilders use isometrics.

The first is in their posing routines. To get ready for a bodybuilding competition you must practice doing your posing routine.

Each time you do a double biceps pose, — for example — you are holding the pose for a few seconds at a maximum contraction. This is isometrics. One way to apply this and get phenomenal results is as follows:

Perform a set of barbell curls, then perform a double biceps pose for 30 seconds while the muscle is still pumped! Your arms will be in severe pain but don’t worry about this focus on the muscle contraction. Rest for about 30 seconds and then repeat again. (You do this in between each set of barbell curls.)

Although there is no “real” resistance the Isometric Contraction causes the muscle to become harder and more defined. This is nothing new Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed that he would spend hours holding each pose in order to make the muscle harder and more defined.

Mr. Schwarzenegger’s in his book “Arnold: the education of a bodybuilder” revealed that to get his calves as defined, hard and cut as possible he would do a lot of “tensing” after each workout.

He referred to this method as “Super Isometrics.” (You can find is on page 72 of that book)

Joe Weider who created most of the terms currently being used in the bodybuilding industry… referred to isometrics as Iso-Tension. (It is one of the Weider principles for building a strong and powerful physique.)

Let’s explore the second example of how isometric exercise is used in bodybuilding.

Again let us go back to… Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold would perform an exercise called “bicep cheat curls.” In this exercise he would use more weight or resistance than normal. The logic behind this is to force the muscles (typically a 90° angle) to develop strength in the maximal contraction.

Arthur Jones the creator of the Nautilus exercise equipment also indicated that the use of isometric exercise in bodybuilding was one of the best things that any bodybuilder could do.

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Why is Aerobics Exercise So Popular?

Since 1970, the aerobics exercise has become increasingly popular. Hundreds of aerobics exercise videos were sold. There are many different kind of aerobics exercise being performed all over the world.

Aerobics exercise is a special type of exercise which generally involves rapid stepping patterns. These steps are performed usually to accompanying music and lead by an instructor who provides the necessary cues. After the 1970 publication The New Aerobics book written by Cooper, aerobics stated to grow in popularity and peaked in the 1980s. A lot of celebrities like Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons began to create their own videos and shows to promote aerobics exercises.

There are two most popular types of group aerobics exercise which are Freestyle aerobics and Pre-choreographed aerobics. Freestyle aerobics incorporate a style of aerobic exercises that include choreography and dance movements. It is mainly practiced to improve suppleness and most of the participants of this aerobics type are women.

However, in spite of its popularity, many people still excuses to not take up any form of exercise. People often claim that they do not have enough time to go to the gym or that gym membership is much too expensive. No matter what excuse is given, aerobics can actually be done in the comfort of the home.

There have been many similar videos since Jane Fonda’s video on exercises came out, so there are hundreds of these aerobics exercise videos to choose from. These videos include low-impact and as high-impact aerobics exercises. There are also specialist videos that cater to pregnant women in and the elderly.

Aerobics actually means with oxygen and this type of exercise uses large muscle groups over a period of time. It is also performed in a rhythm. Oxygen is used to sustain the activity over lengthy periods of time. Aerobics exercises require the muscles to work in great part so as to raise the heart rate to 60 percent to 80 percent of its maximum rate. It should also be continuously performed for at least a quarter of an hour to an hour.

Aerobic exercise can help you maintain a higher heart rate while the oxygen is used to burn the fats. At the beginning of an aerobic exercises session, glycogen is broken down to produce glucose. If there is not enough glucose available, it would result in fat beginning to decompose. When our body starts to use fat as a fuel, it causes a condition which marathon runners describe as hitting the wall.

Lose Weight With Aerobics Exercise

Losing weight is not very easy for most people. Most people don’t really know how to lose weight healthily. This is one reason why obesity has increased tremendously in most parts of the world. Losing weight not only takes time but also discipline. However, that is what most people don’t have. They don’t have the patience which is required to lose weight.

In our society today, we want everything instantly at this moment. When things take too much time we tend to give up. That is the main reason why most diets and exercise programs fail. However you should know that losing weight should not have to be so exhausting. It can also be fun to lose weight with aerobics exercise.

To lose weight effectively with aerobics, the workout should raise your heartbeat for an extended period of time. You should continue the aerobics workout for at least twenty minutes at a time. This is because this is the point where your body starts to use excess fat for energy.

However, aerobics workouts don’t have to be boring and don’t have to be the same thing day after day. The best way to continue your aerobics workout is to find several workouts that you can combine throughout the week or month. That way, your workout never becomes dull and you won’t get easily burned out.

Another factor that you must remember is to never lose your motivation. Most often, the reason people fail to lose weight is because their motivation wanes after a few days or weeks. Healthily losing weight takes time. It can be weeks or even months before you reach the weight you desire. If you want to lose weight healthily, you should only lose about a pound or two a week. This is too slow for most people.

However, you should remember that it took even more time to pile the pounds on so that is why it is going to take time to get them off. Most people don’t realize is that it takes twice as long to lose the weight as it does to gain it. So, the most important thing to remember is to never lose your motivation and continue with your aerobics workouts to lose weight.

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Bouncer Weight Training

Being a bouncer, you experience a world that most people cannot imagine. You spend your nights and weekends in smoky bars, quietly and politely observing bar patrons purposefully filling their bodies with alcohol as a means of impairing their own judgment and finding opportunities with the fairer sex. You also have to break up fights, protect the door, and at times restrain individuals so they don’t hurt themselves or others. It is a job that can change from boring to deadly at the drop of a hat. It is the responsibility of even bouncer to train intelligently and responsibly to ensure he can do the best job possible. Here are some training tips you can employ to ensure you are in the best possible strength, cardiovascular, and skill set positions for the tasks that your job as a bouncer may entail.

Weight Training

Being big and strong is the first way you are going to be an effective bouncer. If you’re big enough, your mere presence alone will be enough to prevent most confrontations. However, there are going to be times when actual strength will be required to subdue people and control situations. Your lifting regimen should consist of the heavy compound movements of bench press, squats, deadlifts, rows, shoulder presses, skull crushers, and barbell biceps curls. Keep your repetition range in the 5 to 10 area to build functional strength.

Cardiovascular Training

Nothing is worse than gassing out while grappling with an angry, 300 pound drunken bar patron on the concrete floor. Brief yet intense confrontations can be a major drain on your body’s resources. For this reason, you should complete 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular training at the conclusion of each workout. You don’t need to worry about using some great level of intensity – simply walking 3 miles per hour at a 2% incline grade is more than adequate. In addition to building up your lung capacity to help in stressful situations, you will also be improving your own cardiovascular fitness and overall health levels.

Proper Training

Safety is always one issue of being a bouncer that is never overlooked – when it comes to the bouncer himself. However it is important that bouncer also consider a quick 2 to 4 week training session on proper take-down and restraint methods to ensure rowdy bar patrons are subdued quickly, without causing the person to sustain serious physical harm. If your bar is being sued, you’re losing money and will probably be the first man laid off. Enroll in a self-defense course with an emphasis in safe and secure take-downs which will protect both you and the inebriated bar patron.

The old rule of bouncing is, “if there isn’t a fight for three weeks – start one!” and it stands true that many in the field will instigate confrontations in order to present to management a sustained need for their presence. Tactics like this aside – if you present a strong, fit and well-trained package, you will always have work in the entertainment industry.

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Fat Man’s Guide to a Good Stretch

One simple truth about most fat guys… we’re about as limber as a 2×4.  I know when I took a flexibility test recently I had trouble just reaching the testing device.  Whether it’s our gut getting in the way of a good stretch or it’s our muscles being tighter than an old pair of Jordash jeans, stretching for fat guys is just not an easy thing.  Unfortunately it is something we really, really need to do more often.  So let’s talk about proper stretching.  

As I’ve mentioned before my particular focus lately is on running, so a lot of the stretching I’m going to discuss is around that.  But really any stretching we can do is good for us.  Too often I find myself sitting in front of a computer for ten to twelve hours a day, and it shows in my flexibility (and my diameter!).  When I started running again I was finding myself unable to really push my stride out and a large factor in that was my complete lack of flexibility.  By adding a good stretching regime I have been able to increase my stride and get a better workout in.  Plus I feel better the next morning!  

So how did I do it?  First, we have the natural obstacle of our guts that we have to overcome.  The easy answer for that is to stretch horizontally while still standing.  Don’t try and bend over to stretch.  It’s too easy to lose your balance and get hurt, especially if (when!) you stretch at the end of your workout.  And stretching while sitting often encounters the big belly barrier, as I like to call it.  So use a low bench, a big rock, anything that you can use to elevate your foot to a 20 degree angle or so and then stretch that leg out.  It keeps your gut from being compressed and it allows you to get a really good stretch in.  

As you stretch, take your time!  Slowly lower yourself down and continue to lower yourself for a count of 15.  Then slowly pull yourself back up.  Do this two to three times on each leg.  Once you are done with straight leg stretching work those knees out.  Too often we fat guys get lock legs as we run and it makes us kind of shuffle.  You want to progress through your calves and quads, knees, hips, lower back, and then upper body.  For the hips and lower back do very slow twists and hold at the furthest position you can reach for a five count.  

Once your lower body is done move on to your upper body.  You may not realize it but when you run a lot of the work gets done up there, and it’s an easy place to carry tension.  Slowly work your shoulders and neck.  Taking your time to do a nice slow stretch can prevent injury.  Never use sharp motions or bouncing when you are stretching, that can lead to serious problems.  A good stretch should take you 8-10 minutes to perform.  

Make sure to stretch before and after your workout if at all possible.  If you cannot do a full stretch after, make sure to take time to at least work the kinks out of your legs and shoulders.  You will be thankful you did the rest of the day.  Failing to stretch after a hard workout can actually lead to decreased flexibility, and we’re already dealing with that problem as fat guys.  All in all, stretching is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your overall health and the effectiveness of your workouts.  

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My Top 15 Non-Traditional, Muscle Building, Fat Scorching Workouts

If you have been a subscriber to my newsletter for some time, you know that I’m always trying to give you ways to make your workouts more interesting and fun, while also stimulating big-time results. Don’t you agree that your training should be fun? This is what separates the people who jump on and off the “fitness bandwagon” a couple times every year without ever making any real progress from the people that actually adopt a true fitness lifestyle and finally achieve the body they have always wanted. Make it interesting, make it fun, and make your fitness a priority, and you’ll have the body that you want.

What I have noticed over the years is that many people will train regularly for a few months and then will either get bored with the same old weight training and cardio routines, or will get discouraged because their progress comes to a grinding halt after a while. In my opinion, I don’t think your workouts ever need to get boring or stale. You just need to have an open mind to the huge world of various training styles and techniques that are out there. Seriously, there are so many different and fun training styles out there, that there is no reason you should ever get bored with your workouts and give up on that lean ripped body that you’ve been looking for. Also, mixing in various training styles builds stronger joints by reducing repetitive movement pattern overload and varying your training stressors.

Now before I start with some of my favorite non-traditional training styles, I will state that I think one of the best ways to achieve a lean, muscular and healthy body is through a consistent weight training routine with free weights. You can choose to integrate some of these alternative training techniques with your weight training routines on the same day, as alternative workouts on separate days of the week, or even as separate training cycles where you try some of these techniques for several weeks at a time before cycling back to a traditional weight training workout. Try some of these training styles out and you’ll be on your way to never being bored again with your workouts…and your body will thank you with muscles popping out that you never knew existed!

Alright, here are some of my favorite non-traditional training techniques:

1. Staircase Workouts – This is great because stairs are everywhere. You can go to a football field and do stadium stairs, any building that has stairs like a hotel (most people take the elevator, so you will not even have many people looking at you while you’re working out), or even the stairs in your own home. For an awesome full body workout, try mixing stairs sprints with an upper body exercise like pushups or pull-ups. If done with a high enough intensity, stairs workouts help to create changes throughout your entire body due to the muscle building and fat burning hormonal response and metabolism increase that you get through working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body. If you thought that going up and down the stairs was the only way to get a good stairs workout…think again. My fellow trainer and friend, Virgil Aponte, has developed a website that focuses on creative stairs workouts using all kinds of exercises you never would have thought of before. You can find out more info on stairs exercises workouts at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

2. Wind Sprints and Hill Sprints – Find any open field in a park or athletic field and try 50, 75, and 100-yard all-out wind sprints. After each sprint, rest long enough to catch your breath before the next one (generally 1-2 minutes). Try workouts of anywhere from 6 to 20 wind sprints for a great “cutting” workout. Also, if you have a hill nearby, hill sprints are also great workouts. Sprint up the hill as fast as you can and walk down for your rest interval. Repeat until you’re whooped (a 20-30 minute hill workout is plenty). These sprint workouts are so amazingly effective at changing your entire body for the same reason as stairs exercises…by powerfully working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body, you greatly stimulate your metabolism while simultaneously increasing your fat burning and muscle building hormones.

Just look at any world class 100-meter sprinters and notice how ripped-to-shreds those guys are. Now compare that to the emaciated weakling physiques of many marathoners, and you’ll see that sprinting is where the action is at for a healthy, ripped, powerful body! Now I don’t want to upset all of you distance runners out there. Hey, if distance running is something you enjoy, then go right ahead. But don’t say you’re doing it for the health benefits, because I might just have to disagree. You can read my full story on why I believe variable intensity training is far superior to steady-state endurance training in one of my other ezinearticles.com articles at Cardio-Enthusiasts: Discover a More Effective Training Method for Fat Loss and Heart Health!

3. Kettlebell Training – If you’ve been reading my articles for some time, you’ve probably heard me praise kettlebell training many times before, but I will have to reiterate that it has been one of the best training methods that I’ve ever tried and has taken my physical capabilities to a whole new level. Kettlebells are an alternative type of free-weight training instead of barbells and dumbbells. Their unique construction and weight distribution (basically a cannonball with a handle) allows for a whole different realm of exercises that’s available compared to dumbbells and barbells. Kettlebells have been typically used for training hard-core athletes, military units, martial arts competitors, and other tough individuals, but there is no reason that anybody looking to get stronger, bigger, or more cut can’t learn the exercises and benefit from them.

It’s been a little over a year now since I’ve incorporated kettlebell training into my routines, and I’ll admit that I’m hooked for life! At between $100-$150 per kettlebell, they are definitely not cheap, but they are well worth the money. Just one or two kettlebells and you’ve literally got yourself an entire home gym that you can use for the rest of your life…worth every penny in my book! If you want to give these body-hardening kettlebells a try, you can find more info at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

4. Bodyweight Workouts – For a change of pace, try adding to your routine one or two workouts a week at home with just bodyweight based exercises. These can be great because you can get a high intensity workout done in only 15-30 minutes without having to go to the gym on days that you might not have time for a trip to the gym. Try alternating bodyweight squats, pushups variations, lunges, and floor abs exercises continuously for 15-30 minutes. Try to take very short rest periods or none at all to really amp up the intensity since this will be a brief workout. If you’re more advanced, you can even incorporate more challenging exercises like handstand pushups, one-arm pushups, and one-legged squats into your bodyweight training routines.

5. Ring Training – This type of training basically uses portable gymnastic rings that you can take anywhere with you. You throw the straps up over any high bar like a pullup bar, the top of a power rack, or even over a football field goal crossbar. Then you can quickly adjust the rings to do exercises like ring dips, ring pushups, ring pull-ups, hanging leg raises, horizontal body rows, L-sits, and more. Dips and pushups on the rings are my favorites and the rings really make them a hell of a lot more difficult, while also incorporating your stabilizer muscles to a much greater degree. The rings allow your joints to move in a more natural pattern and can help you prevent or even recover from shoulder injuries. Personally, when I try dips on a normal dip stand, it hurts my shoulders. However, dips on the training rings feel perfect, and also give me a much better muscle pump. The training rings are one of the best training devices I’ve ever bought. Give them a try…I think you’ll like them if you’re up for a challenge. I found my rings, which you can hang up easily on a power rack, pullup bars, or at a park, at ringtraining.com.

6. Swimming – A great full body workout that stresses the muscles and joints in a much different way than most resistance training. Incorporating swimming workouts once or twice a week into your normal training routines can really enhance your physique. I recommend trying a “sprint” style swimming workout, which will help more for building muscle compared with endurance long distance swimming. For sprint style, swim as hard as you can to the other side of a 25-meter or 50-meter pool (or sprint swim similar distances in a lake or the ocean if you like to swim outdoors). Rest enough to catch your breath between sprint swims (about 20-40 seconds). Try to keep the rest intervals fairly short with swim sprints. You can also mix different strokes (crawl, breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, butterfly) on each swim sprint. I’ve found that sprint swimming gives me a great muscle pump (especially in the upper body), without any soreness the next day as is typical with weight training. This is because swimming has no eccentric movement (the negative portion of a lift), which is what causes muscle soreness. Keep in mind that even though swimming works your muscles well and is a nice alternative workout to mix in once or twice a week, it does not strengthen your bones. You still need to do regular weight training to do that.

7. Sandbag Training – This form of training is a nice variation to mix in with your strength training. It works your body with an unstable object, which makes muscles that might normally be neglected get in on the action to perform the movements. I’ve been mixing some sandbag training into my routines for over a year now, and I’ve found it is a very intense method of training that works your muscles in a different way and gets you huffing and puffing like crazy. You can make your own sandbags to train with by filling various sized duffle bags with sand, or you can use those construction type sandbags that come in several shapes. Sandbag exercises can be done as squats, cleans, presses, lunges, shouldering, throws or heaves, carrying up hills, etc. Make no mistake, training intensely with sandbags will get you ripped in no time flat! I’ve actually found an entire book devoted to sandbag training, which gave me some great ideas for doing sandbag based workouts. If you’re interested in this type of training, you can find more info at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

8. Mountain Biking – As you may have figured by now, I’m not a proponent of steady pace endurance exercise, but rather, highly variable intensity exercise that works with bursts of exertion followed by recovery intervals. Well, mountain biking fits this bill perfectly. You get the leg pumping exertion during the uphill climbs, while also getting the adrenaline rush of the downhill acting as your recovery intervals. Mix it all together and you get a super-fun, high-intensity, leg burning workout that will melt fat off of your entire body and build awesome legs at the same time. The climbs can be tough and will challenge you both physically and mentally as you pump away trying to make it up steep hills without having to resort to getting off of the bike. Then after you make it up the challenging climbs, you get rewarded with the adrenaline rush of flying down steep hills while jumping off of boulders and logs and trying not to stumble or fall off the bike. It’s such an addicting thrill…I love it! See, who says that working out has to be boring!

9. Indoor (or outdoor) Rock Climbing – This is yet another fun way to get in a great workout that will also challenge you both physically and mentally. Indoor rock climbing gyms have starting popping up all over the place in recent years and will be more accessible than outdoor rock climbing to most people. Rock climbing is a great workout for your legs, arms, shoulders, and your entire back. It also really works your grip strength and forearms like crazy. Whenever I go indoor rock climbing (which is only on occasion), my forearms are sore for about 2-3 days afterwards. Give it a try if you’ve never done it…it may be just what you’re looking for to spice up your fitness routine.

10. Stick Wrestling – This is a killer full body workout and can also be a great competition between you and your friends. This is probably more of a guy thing for most people. You could even come up with your own “fight club” and have stick wrestling competitions with your buddies to see who is toughest. There are actually sticks designed specifically for stick wresting, but you can even just use a strong broomstick cut down to about 30-36 inches long and taped up with some athletic tape to prevent splinters. For your stick wrestling workout, stand on a soft mat or carpeted area (or grass if outdoors), match up with a friend or foe. You’ll both grab the same stick toward the ends with your hands on the outsides of your partner’s hands, on the inside, or staggered. Then you simply push, pull, jerk, and thrash your opponent around trying to knock them off balance until they either fall or lose their grip of the stick…and you win that round! Be careful not to get the stick up high and knock each other in the face. Use common sense. You can do this in 1-2 minute rounds or just keep going until someone gives up. Be creative and keep going until you’ve gotten a killer workout. Your forearms and legs will be screaming!

11. Strongman Training – This type of training is a little more hard-core, but it’s a blast for those who are into trying something different. The premise is based on the types of exercises competitors perform in the “worlds strongest man” competitions. If you have a yard, you can even set up some of these exercises in your yard and do some outdoor workouts to have a little fun. Your neighbors will probably give you some funny looks, but it’s fun, so who cares! You can get one of those giant tractor tires and do tire flips (which is basically a deadlift followed by a push-press). You can also try your hand at log lifts, boulder lifts and carries, keg lifts and tosses, weighted sled dragging…anything that involves pulling, pushing, lifting, or heaving any types of odd objects. You don’t need to be a monster to enjoy this type of training…just handle whatever size objects are challenging for your individual strength. Strongman training works your entire body in a very intense fashion and could easily spark some new results. If you’re interested in finding out more ideas for strongman training, check out my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

12. Rope Climbing – This goes back to the old high school days of climbing the rope in gym class. Seriously, if you have access to a rope, either at a gym or somewhere outdoors, rope climbing builds a powerful and ripped upper body like no other exercise. A great way to incorporate rope climbing into intense workouts is to do a climb up, then lower yourself back down. Then while your upper body is recovering for the next climb, you can do a lower body exercise like squats or lunges, or go up and down stairs. Keep alternating the upper body rope climbs with the lower body exercises in between and you’ll get one hell of a full body workout.

13. Bag Boxing – You can use a heavy bag, a speed bag, or even one of those rebound bags to get a great workout. Among the three, the heavy bag is the best all around full body workout, while the speed bag will test your rhythm and timing and give you a great upper body workout. If available at your gym or if you have a bag at home, try mixing these in as a good warm-up or as an intense finish to your strength routine.

14. Rope Skipping – You can’t beat rope jumping as a great full body exercise. I like to use it as a warm-up for my weight training workouts. I prefer to use the really cheap “speed” ropes with a plastic rope instead of a fabric rope. Once you get good, you can jump rope much faster with the plastic ropes than the fabric ones, which will allow you to get a more intense workout. And don’t mess with the weighted handle ropes…they’ll just slow you down. Your goal is speed when rope skipping. Try mixing together two legged jumps, one-legged jumps, arm crossovers, double jumps (rope passes under feet twice for each jump) to keep things interesting and increase the intensity. Also, try alternating 15-20 second high intensity bursts where you jump as fast as you possibly can, followed by 15-20 second recovery intervals where you jump slowly to get ready for your next burst. Keep repeating until you’re whooped, which might happen pretty quick!

15. Jumping exercises – squat jumps, box jumps, lunge jumps, and broad jumps are some of the best ways to incorporate explosive jumping exercises into your routines. The explosive and powerful nature of jumping exercises works your leg muscles in an entirely different way than most normal slow grinding strength training moves. I’ve even seen a university study cited once that found squat jumps to elicit the greatest testosterone response of all exercises studied. That means more muscle and less fat on your entire body, not just your legs. Try super-setting jumping exercises with upper body exercises for some really intense workouts.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these ideas for ways to really shake up your workouts and make them fun again. I know some of them may seem a little “out there”, but open your mind to the possibilities and you’ll never be bored again…and your body will respond with new found results!

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The Medicine Called Zumba

The music is progressively styled for users to alternate from slow to fast workout movements. This alternating exposes the body to different heart rates thus delivering a good cardio exercise. The Zumba fitness uses body’s own resistance to shape and tone the body. Zumba fitness classes are performed in group to keep individuals motivated and socialize as well. This 45 minutes exercise regime burns a load of calories without the user recognizing it. Zumba as a term means nothing it is just a catch phrase which has gripped the global market.

This Latin inspired zumba performance classes get’s its root & style from different music styles like cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, reggaeton, soca, samba, hip hop music, axĂ© music and tango. Music is core to the resources required necessary to perform zumba. This is more a performance class then fitness class; so it keeps the interest of the user occupied and thus achieves the objective of wellness and better health. The fitness classes are designed to address all age groups from the young ones to up to the old ones. Zumba is all about building balance and coordination. The workout intensity it provides targets the upper body and lower body strength. Maintaining body postures while performing zumba is critical such that the entire body gets exposure to the movements and intensive workout.

Zumba fitness was started in 1990’s by Colombian fitness trainer Alberto “Beto” Perez. Since then it has taken the fitness market by storm. Today it is made available in almost every country and is being offered as a special feature by most of the fitness centers. There are a nine different type of classes to address the different age groups and cohorts. Zumba gold is very elementary and progressively styled fitness session which targets the beginners and the older people; it begins with easy workout steps till the body gets used to its rhythm and then explodes. Zumba step targets the lower body and the workout involves routines and step aerobics performed over Latin music. Zumba toning is a workout performed with toning sticks and targets abs, thighs, arms and other muscle throughout the body.

All it demands is an hour long commitment and commitment towards a healthy & clean meal plan. Zumba fitness classes are also available online and on digital media like DVDs; this is for those who prefer to workout at home. A load of people subscribe to digital classes and operate from their respective homes at ease and convenience. Although it is difficult to stick to schedule when operating from home; however it depends on the individual to make a decision. The fitness class objective usually revolves around improving one’s coordination, mobility, agility, and posture and muscle strength. More than just being an exercise zumba is promoted as being a lifestyle. With number of instructors increasing the spread of zumba fitness classes is becoming more evident and a success.

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