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Nordictrack Exercise Bike Reviews

NordicTrack are a popular brand of exercise bike. They are popular because they come with one of the best consoles on any bike – certainly for a machine under a $1,000. But, are they a good machine overall, what sort of user do they appeal to, and what kinds of rating do customers give NordicTrack exercise bikes? The answers you get depend on the model of machine.

Most people can’t afford or justify paying more than a thousand dollars on a LifeCycle or Schwinn exercise bike. The biggest market for this type of fitness equipment is around the $500 mark and this is the niche that NordicTrack exercise bikes fall in to.

The most popular model is the AudioRider U300 bike; it’s also the cheapest, retailing for around $400. It’s an upright model and, for its price, you do get a lot of features. As you would expect it has magnetic resistance and it runs smoothly and quietly. The console really is the big plus point about this machine. It’s large, well laid out and easy to use; someone has described it as being like the dashboard of your car, which is a very good analogy. It displays the usual feedback data of time, speed, distance, resistance, pulse, RPM, carbs burned and calories burned. The handlebars have grip sensors to monitor heart rate and the seat is nicely cushioned. Another great feature is the AutoBreeze Workout Fan, which automatically adjusts the airflow to match your speed.

Getting to the more important features, you get 20 built-in workouts; 18 Personal Trainer workouts and 2 Heart Rate workouts. The personal trainer workouts will automatically adjust both pace and resistance during the workout to maintain the best optimized settings for aerobic, weight loss, or performance goals.

Many, especially first-timers, need motivation. It’s now quite common for all sorts of exercise equipment to be fitted with iFIT card technology. Each card is designed by a certified personal trainer and plugs directly into the bike’s console. During the workout, the trainer’s voice can be heard over the load speaker, helping you to achieve your specific goals. You can also download iFIT programs off the internet.

The bike also comes with Interactive Audio CrossTrainer, which is an interactive fitness coach that verbally and visually prompts you to perform a variety of strength-training and calorie burning exercises.

The AudioRider U300 is a great piece of kit however it really has been designed for casual or entry-level users. Those who are serious about bike training may find this machine lacks teeth. For instance, the position of seat and handle bars results in a sit-up-and-beg position. For more demanding training many prefer a more trapezoidal position with the hips up and shoulders down.

The AudioRider U400 is the same as the U300 except that it is a recumbent exercise bike. The features and workout programs are pretty much the same. It costs an additional $100. These bikes in which the user is in a reclined position are proving to be increasingly popular as they are more comfortable for those who have lower back problems or those who are overweight.

Lastly, there is the NordicTrack SL710 recumbent exercise bike. It retails for a little less than the U400. Personally, you are better off spending the extra and getting the U400. You only get 8 rather than 10 programs and the user weight capacity drops from 300 lbs to 250 lbs. The biggest claimed benefit of this bike is the Step-In design – this is where the center of the bike has been designed to be as near the ground as possible making it easy to get on and off the bike. The only reason to buy this model would be because you find it difficult to get on and off a more conventional recumbent.

In conclusion NordicTrack bikes are great value for money. If you’re a first time user or need something with a lot of motivational features then you should take a close look at these machines. However, if you’re a seasoned pro you should be looking at something a little more substantial like a Schwinn exercise bike.

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Kettlebell Calf Raises

Kettlebell calf raises can be a great addition to your kettlebell workouts. They are not very different to your traditional barbell and machine calf raises but as the weights will be supported from a different angle they will challenge the calf muscles in a slightly different manner and therefore encourage some additional growth where you had not quite filled that potential.

As with all calf raises there are a few different versions for you to experiment with and the main concern being how much of a stretch on the negative part of the movement you are wanting.

An athlete will find that they can lift a lot more weight when performing standing calf raises straight off the floor. In this movement there is no stretch on the downwards part of the movement as the foot goes from being flat on the floor to standing on the tips of your toes allowing the calf to contract before returning back to flat footed allowing the calf muscle to relax.

The other version of the classic standing calf raise is to use some form of platform. The most common platform to perform this movement would be a simply wooden block. The athlete is then required to stand with their toes on the end of the block with their heels hanging off. The athlete is then required to drive upwards to a position where their weight is supported on the tips of the toes allowing maximum contraction of the calf muscles before reversing the movement so that the heel goes below the flat footed position and the Calf muscle is stretched. At the lower part of the movement it is very important not to allow the calf to bounce as this can injure the Achilles tendon. Explode out of the negative back into the tip toed position.

To use Kettlebells for standing calf raises there are tow ways of supporting the weight, both of which will challenge the Calves in different ways.

The first and simplest method is to simply hold a kettlebell in each hand and allow to hang at the sides of your body. This way of holding the Kettlebells tends to put more strain on the outer part of the Calves which can create the fuller look of the Calves from the back view of the athlete.

The other and more difficult way to perform the Kettlebell Calf raise is to Clean the Kettlebells up to the Racked position. Once in the racked position is when you would step onto the platform if you are performing this type of calf raise. To perform Kettlebell calf raises from this position is far more difficult and due to the advanced centre of gravity the Kettlebells place on the Calf muscles you may find balancing a lot harder. It would be advisable to attempt the calf raises on the floor first of all if you wish to perform calf raises from the racked position. Once you can master the racked position kettlebell calf raises you will be challenging your calves with the stability of the movement and a lot of focus of the weight will be centralised towards the inner calf helping to create the Diamond shape of a well developed calf muscle.

This is again just one of many ways kettlebell exercises can provide the boost required to your workouts to encourage even more muscular growth and definition.

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Bodybuilding Pumps – Some Amazing Secrets To Getting Incredible Workouts And Healing Fast!

One of the keys to success in bodybuilding is to get amazing, incredible, testosterone pumping workouts. There are many ways to ensure that you get an amazing workout and have the incredible pump that you so desire.

Today, our bodybuilding experts are going to go over just some of the ways to help you get an amazing workout!

Great Pre-Workout

One of the first and most important steps to getting an incredible workout is to take a great preworkout supplement. While not completely necessary, a preworkout supplement can help you get an incredible pump and have the energy to blow through your workout.

Usually as you’re lifting your muscles may get tired, well if you have one of the best preworkout supplements you likely won’t feel this for a long, long time. A great preworkout supplement will let you keep going and get an incredible pump.


Niacin, or Vitamin B3, is on of the keys to getting a great workout. Niacin increases blood flow and dialates the blood vessels, getting more blood to your muscles as you’re lifting. It increases energy and greatly increases intensity. Sometimes when you take Niacin, especially if you’ve never taken it or just started to take it, you will “flush”. A flush is when your skin gets red and itchy, it’s actually a great feeling and lasts about a half an hour to an hour usually.

A niacin flush shows that your Niacin supplement is working. When choosing a Niacin supplement, be sure to choose one that is instant release, not time released, as instant release works much better for lifting and working out than the time released version.


Arginine is an amino acid that works in many ways to help give you an incredible workout. Arginine has a variety of functions including increasing bloodflowm, causing Human Growth Hormone to spike naturally and giving you more energy. Many people have reported an incredible pump when taking Arginine, and, as an amino acid, it works together with other aminos to help you get an amazing workout.

There are many factors that go into getting a great workout and an incredible pump, these are just a few of the key factors to get amazing workouts and feel great before, during and afterwords. With the right combination of supplements, every workout can be one of the best you ever had, and can give you an amazing pump!

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Five Easy Steps to Get Bigger Biceps

The biceps muscle is one of the most coveted muscles a person has. for some guys they can practically look at some dumbbells and POW- their arms get bigger. For those of us with out such a superior genetic makeup are not so fortunate. We have to work extra hard to get bigger biceps. Perhaps we have been working too hard. Muscles need time to recover and more importantly they do not do well if trained for a period of time exceeding forty five minutes.

Step 1: Keep your arm routine under forty five minutes.

The biceps muscle is actually two main muscles. To get bigger biceps we need to focus on each part of the biceps separately.

Step 2: Choose three to four exercises that target both the inner and outer head of the muscle. Guys (and girls) with really awesome biceps have a definitive line separating the two heads. to see the best results we must remember this principle. Try using a wide grip on an e-z bar for your standing curls, then switch to a narrow grip for your preacher curls. This will target the inner and outer heads.

A supine grip (palms facing in towards your thighs) should be used to get bigger biceps when using dumbbells.

Step 3: When doing dumbbell curls start with a supine grip, in the middle of your curling motion evenly rotate your wrist until you palm is facing up and at the top of your curl give it an extra twist t really squeeze the muscle hard.

To get bigger biceps we also need to keep stretching in mind.

Step 4: Choose an exercise such as inclined dumbbell curls and really let the arm fully extend and stretch at the bottom. This will allow more blood flow to the muscle cell tissue, pumping nutrients, which you need to get bigger biceps, into the muscle.

Studies have shown that when you work out in the evening you have an increased level of growth hormone.

Step 5: If possible schedule your workouts after work, and then go eat a healthy dinner.

This should help you to get bigger biceps, and it is a good guideline to follow for you other muscle groups.

Bonus Tip: If you are doing cardio before your weight training switch them. Cardiovascular exercise before a weight routine can cause muscle to catabolize. (eat itself) and there is no way that that will help you to get bigger biceps.

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Strength Training For Rapid Weight Loss


Did you know that muscle naturally decreases with age? And if you don’t replace the muscle, fat will take its place, talk about motivation! Which is where strength training comes into the picture because it can help preserve muscle at any age.

Either way, strength training should be a part of any good weight loss program anyway, because as you increase your lean muscle mass your body becomes better at burning fat! Now let just mention that when I say, “Strength training” I don’t necessarily mean that you have to be ‘Mr. Muscle’, but having a good percentage of lean muscle can really go a long way in helping you with losing weight.

Benefits of strength training

1. Develops strong bones

2. Reduces your risk of injury

3. Boosts your body image

4. Improves your stamina

5. Better night’s sleep as with all exercise.

Your strength training options

Gyms are the first place people think of when they want to do strength training because of all the available equipment. But it is also possible to keep your workouts at home if you have various types of tension bands, they work just as well! Hand weights also work well if you are just beginning plus you can even use your own body weight by doing push-ups, sit ups crunches and leg squats.

Starting out

It is always important to begin your workout session with about 5 – 10 Minutes of warming up using gentle cardio like walking or stretching. Start your workout routine with 12 reps of a lighter weight before moving onto the heavier weights, and then move to heavier weights until the 12th rep tires you out!

A good rule of thumb when you want to increase the weight you’re working with is to increase the weight in 10% increments.

When you are starting out with strength training, try and aim for about 2 – 3 sessions a week, that will be more than enough for you to start building lean muscle. It is also only natural to feel some soreness during your workout but never pain, so if you ever feel sensations of pain, stop immediately to prevent injury.

Like I said earlier, you don’t necessarily have to be Mr. Muscle in order to benefit from strength training, just as long as you have some lean body muscle, it will go a long way towards helping you lose weight. And remember to always give yourself one full rest day for every muscle group that you have trained!

Till next time!

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How To Get Mad Hops and Seriously Increase Your Vertical

Being a good shooter is just not enough to cut it in today’s fast-paced game. If you want to get noticed then you need to get mad hops and increase your vertical.

Think about it, most of the superstars in the NBA these days have serious athleticism and crazy hops. Likewise, the players who get the attention of the scouts at the high school and college levels are usually the ones who are playing above the rim…heck, who needs to shot the ball over a defender when you can just JUMP over him instead, right?

Increasing your vertical leap can not only fix your permanent position on the highlight reel, but it will help to increase your explosiveness, speed and agility in other areas of your game. At the end of the day, coaches love players who can dominate, and great hops can allow you to dominate and take over a game.

The following are recommendations that you should be incorporating into your workouts in order to increase your vertical and get mad hops.


Plyometrics are some of the best exercises that you can do for getting a better leap, since they are a practical exercise designed to train your entire jump mechanism and especially the fast twitch muscles that are essential to develop explosiveness and a higher vertical. They are a proven vertical training method for all athletes from basketball to volleyball to high jumpers.

Weight Training

While using plyometrics can get you an extra few inches, it’s going to be difficult to really get air time unless you combine it with weight training. Yeah, you may see some guys dunking that are stick-thin but in general, the stronger your muscles are the more power you’ll generate and the higher you’ll leap.

The two best weight training exercises for getting mad hops are:

  • Squats
  • Calf Raises

These will work the major muscle groups of the legs (and lower back in the case of squats) and the most important ones for jumping. Getting some solid all-body weight training in will help your hops, but also make you a much stronger and more explosive player on the court…aka, a nightmare for defenders.

Try wearing some ankle weights or a weighted vest during your training sessions to get used to a heavier weight. Once you take them off you will feel a lot lighter and this alone can add an extra inch or two to your vertical.


Many folks neglect the importance of training your abs to get more inches on your vertical. Your abdominal muscles as well as your back are heavily utilized in jumping, so getting some solid ab work into your workout program is recommended to get mad hops.


Don’t neglect your stretching either. This is a hugely overlooked factor in vertical jump training.

When you stretch, your muscles are temporarily made weaker…at which point they begin to repair themselves and become stronger as well as being more flexible and less prone to injury.

The hip flexors are heavily utilized in the jump mechanism and it is therefore essential to perform regular stretching routines to loosen up and strengthen these muscles for better hops.

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Bodyweight Calisthenics and Dumbbells – The Perfect Combination?

It is no secret that exercise is something that should be a part of everyone’s lifestyle. The reasons or motives to exercise may be different for each person. Some want to lose weight and burn fat. Some want to build muscle. Some want to improve health and performance. But regardless of the reason for exercising, everyone wants the “best” exercise program.

This is where the problems start. What is the “best” workout? And the fact is, there is not one workout program that is right for every person and every goal. So, instead of trying to find the absolute, ultimate best workout… use the workout that is best for you and your goals.

In my opinion, the use of bodyweight calisthenics and dumbbells is the best way to exercise for just about any goal. So, regardless of what workout program you decide is right for you, they should include bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. Here’s why…

Exercise Is About Movement

Unfortunately, when people think about exercise, they think about muscles. “This exercise works this muscle”. This way of thinking originated and was made popular by bodybuilders an is now mainstream. The problem is, the majority of exercisers are not bodybuilders!

The truth is, exercise is about movement. It is about being able to move your body around in an efficient manner. It is also about being able to move around other objects, of a variety of weights. That is why bodyweight calisthenics and dumbbells are great for training the body to move either with or without weighted resistance.

Bodyweight Calisthenics Are Perfect For Training Unweighted Movements

Many people have been trained to think that exercise is weight lifting and cardio. Use weight lifting to improve strength and build muscle. Everything else falls in the vague category of “cardio” and improves heart and lung function. This is the wrong way to think about it.

Just think of all the challenges of work, sport and life that require the ability to move your own body around. The real world is full of challenges that don’t fit into the weight training/cardio format. So, use bodyweight calisthenics to train the body to move the way it was meant to move… without added resistance.

Dumbbells Are Perfect For Training Weighted Movements

The other type of challenges you’ll face in sport, work and life requires the movement of a weighted object. And more often than not, this movement will be done with both limbs in unison, one at a time or in an alternating fashion. So, train yourself for these real world challenges by using dumbbells as your weighted resistance.

The furthest away from real world training you can get is using gym machines. Being strapped into these machines train muscles, not movements and make only small improvements to real world abilities. You do want to perform great outside the gym don’t you?

As you can see, the combination of bodyweight calisthenics and dumbbells is perfect for training the body to move both in weighted and unweighted situations. Not only will this improve performance for real world challenges, but it builds great looking bodies as well. To better prepare you for the challenges of bodyweight and dumbbell workouts, your body will shed that ugly fat, build athletic muscle and improve cardiorespiratory endurance. So, if you’re looking for the “best” workout, look no further than bodyweight calisthenics and dumbbell workouts.

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4 Keys to Recovery From Basketball Training

Most players simply play too much basketball. The days of training 6 hours per day in an attempt to be like Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird are DEAD. Embrace short, high intensity basketball workouts or fall behind your competition.

Basketball players in particular are notorious for over training and need to make sure they recover especially well. This allows you to work on your athletic ability in the off season and actually make progress instead of spinning your wheels.

In the off season you should be making a point to train your athletic ability harder and make more progress. You can’t train on the court more than an hour or so per day, 4 or 5 days per week if you want to make progress in the gym. It can’t be done.

Get off the court and start recovering.

If you take a look at the professionals and NBA players, the main difference between those guys and lower level players is their body. There are plenty of high school and college players who are close to an NBA skill level (seriously, you’d be surprised) but they just can’t play with the pros because they are too small and weak.

But anyway, I shouldn’t have to sell you on the idea of making yourself stronger and more athletic in the off season, that should be obvious to you. What’s important to understand, however, is that recovery is key to making progress in your basketball training.

Here are 4 of my quick and dirty tips for supercharging your recovery:

First, sleep at least 9 hours per night, with as many of those hours as possible coming before midnight. In a perfect world, you would sleep from 10 until 7.

Second, foam roll every single day to break up all the scar tissue and adhesions in your muscle that get tied up when you train hard for basketball.

Third, eat whole, unprocessed foods 4-6 times per day. This will give your body the building blocks it needs to recover.

Last, take naps during the day for no longer than 15 minutes. You might not fall asleep but the simple act of lying down and turning off your brain will greatly accelerate your progress.

Those are 4 of my quick and dirty tips for accelerating your recovery from your basketball training. Add them to your training and you will be successful.

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Here is the Best Way to Get Ripped by Body Type

The best way to get ripped is to understand your individual body type and design a program that fits it and your lifestyle. There are three general body types. This includes the ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. By recognizing what type of body you have, you can develop a program to address your specific challenges to building a ripped physique.

Here is a more detailed description of the different body types:

Ectomorph – These individuals are generally considered lucky by their peers. They are typically very lean and naturally carry very low body fat. The best way to get ripped for an ectomorph involves putting on lean muscle mass. The challenge they face in developing a ripped physique is putting on enough muscle mass to be considered ripped instead of just skinny.

Endomorph – These individuals are the exact opposite of the ectomorph. If an endomorph even smells the food, an ectomorph will gain 5 pounds! With exercise, they easily make strength gains, but they face challenges in developing a ripped physique as they try to lower their body fat. For an endomorph, the best way to get ripped involves lowering their BMI.

Mesomorph – These individuals are the luckiest of the three. They have naturally athletic bodies that respond equally well to both diet and exercise. The challenges they face in developing a ripped physique are usually just issues of dedication and information. The best way to get ripped for a mesomorph involves committing to their body.

Here is the best way to get ripped by body type:

The ectomorph needs a routine of serious strength and muscle building exercises. Free weights as body weight exercises will be too easy for them, and they will expend too many precious calories before they even begin building muscle. Low repetition and heavy weights are needed. Supplements should be taken, accompanied by intense strength building workouts. The best way to get ripped for the ectomorph is to train like a powerlifter.

The endomorph has the hardest time developing a ripped physique. I have trained vegetarian endomorphs who had a hard time reaching their goals, but it can be done. For the endomorph, the key is cardiovascular training and close attention to diet. The best way to get ripped for the endomorph is to stay motivated. Since often it takes awhile for the endomorph to see results, it is often helpful to keep a journal during their training routine. The journal should include information such as how they are feeling, and interactions they have had during their day. Often the journal will help them see improvements in their quality of life that would go unnoticed if they were only looking at the mirror. This often is the key to get the endomorph through the building phase until the physical results are more noticeable.

Finally, the mesomorph is naturally athletic. The mesomorph’s routine really depends on how ripped they want to get. Because of their easy gains, and how they readily respond to training, mesomorphs can get lazy in the gym. The best way to get ripped for a mesomorph is to commit to regular training. Generally, a modest free weight or body weight exercise routine combined with some sort of cardiovascular exercise will get them to their goal.

Lastly, regardless of your body type, it always helps to take supplements. The best way to get ripped includes the right diets, exercises, and supplements. There are many different supplements on the market, but make sure to take proven supplements that will help you get ripped quickly!

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Bodybuilding For Hardgainers – Never Be Called Skinny Again

Bodybuilding for hardgainers is like kayaking with a one-piece paddle, while those genetically gifted body-builders are going at it with a proper 2-piece paddle. What the hell does that mean? It means it’s more difficult, but it is possible if you do it right. This is because genetically your body is less prone to stacking on muscle.

Unfortunately, a lot of skinny guys use the term hard-gainer as an excuse and limitation to why they can’t gain weight. What you should do is just the opposite. Since bodybuilding for hardgainers is difficult but possible if done right, as a skinny guy, you should be motivated to work twice as hard and twice as smart to gain muscle.

This article will serve as a “bodybuilding for hardgainers” guide.

Why am I a good candidate to tell you about this stuff? Well, I am one of the guys who had to face this problem, and as hard as I tried I just could not gain muscle. I worked out so hard, and ate lots, but nothing seemed to work. I took supplements and everything only to watch the scale not move a single extra line when stepping on it. I hated being skinny and I just didn’t want to be that tiny guy anymore. I didn’t want to be the smallest one of my cousins and the smallest one of my friends, so I started bodybuilding for hard-gainers.

The first thing we need to do is eat a greater quantity and better quality of muscle building food than others. This includes more water, more good carbohydrates, more proteins, and more good oils and fats than other people consume.

The next thing we need is rest. Lots of good quality rest. Go to sleep early, and wake up early. Add on a couple of power naps if you want. Remember however, that just because you’re a “hardgainer” doesn’t mean you won’t get fat with this diet and rest. If you want this to be a ‘bodybuilding for hardgainers’ diet, then you need to add a great work out to it.

The ‘bodybuilding for hardgainers’ workout is one intense workout. Chose a nice 8-12 rep range and work out each muscle group once a week, unless you’re doing full body circuits, which are great too. Do at least 3-4 sets and make sure you go as heavy as you can without hurting yourself. In addition you should switch up your exercises, weights, set and rep range every 4-6 weeks to ensure you don’t plateau and for maximum muscle gains.

Bodybuilding for hardgainers is not impossible. It just requires a HARDER and SMARTER muscle building strategies. A large quantity and good quality diet plan, with plenty of rest and a great workout plan are the foundations for bodybuilding for hardgainers. Get the right attitude. Don’t make your being a “hard-gainer” an excuse. instead make it a reason to work harder and smarter.

I know it might be discouraging looking in the mirror and seeing no change, but trust me if you do all this, in the end it will be totally worth it when you’re bigger than the guys who make fun of your size now.

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