19Aug
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5 great abdominal workouts you can do at home

Everyone would love great abs – six pack maybe? Standard crunches are great for working out your abdominals, but they’re boring right? We over five great abdominal workouts you can do at home on your way to a rock hard six-pack.

Even if you’re not wanting a six-pack, working the core or abdominals is a great way to increase strength, balance and steadiness.

 

Plank

Yep, everyone hates the Plank, sometimes called the prone or prone brace, but it’s one of the better exercises for a toned, strong core as it’s working your entire core at once.

For those not familiar with the Plank, find a spot on the carpet or another soft surface and lie down facing the floor. Raise yourself onto your toes and elbows and keep your back straight. You’ll now be in a ‘plank’ position.

Hold this position for as long as you can, and repeat 3 or 4 times.

To up the difficulty on this one, there are a few extra things you can do;

  • Starting with your left arm take it from holding you up and extend it to your left touching the ground, then extend your arm in front of you, touching the ground again and finally bring it back to the starting point using it to hold you up again. Now do this with the right arm. Rinse and repeat.
  • Similar to the arm movement above, this time with the legs. Lift your left leg up off the ground and bring your knee forward towards your left elbow (like a crawling action, while keeping the leg off the ground). Return to the plank position, and repeat with the right leg.

 

Abdominal Hold

You’ll need a sturdy chair for this one; a dining chair should do the trick.

Sit on the edge of the chair in an upright, tall position. Place your hands on the front edge of the chair.

Using your hands, push yourself slowly up until your bum lifts off the chair. Hold for as long as you can. 10-15 seconds if possible. Lower yourself down and rinse and repeat for a few sets.

 

Bicycle Crunch

Find yourself a soft spot on the carpet (if you’ve got a yoga mat or similar, use that to lie on). Lie down on your back like the position you’d use for regular crunches. Put your hands behind your head, raise your legs so they’re bent at 90 degrees. Extend one leg out (the other leg should stay close) and alternate, like riding a bike. While your legs are alternating, bring your opposite elbow to meet the closest knee (e.g. if your right leg is in the 90 degree position, you’ll want to be trying to touch it with your left elbow).

Do this for 30-60 seconds. Focus on a slower more concentrated movement, rather than a fast movement. This one is all about control and getting the movement right.

 

Reverse Crunch

Reverse crunches are a great way to mix it up. Start by lying down on the floor on your back with palms facing down.

Bring your legs up to a 90 degree position. Slowly lower your legs until your feet nearly touch the ground then raise your hips up in a crunch like motion. Lower your legs again until they’re nearly at the floor and bring them up again. Rinse and repeats for 15 reps and up to 3 sets.

The key to this exercise is not being your knees all the way to your chin – that won’t get you anywhere except the emergency room. Ideally, when you bring up your hips, your knees should stop somewhere around your chest or nipple line. Like any crunch, focus on the crunch and working the abdominal, core area.

 

Arm & Leg Raise

Start by getting on all fours (knees and hands). Your knees should be under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Raise your right arm to shoulder height and left leg to hip height. Your right arm and left leg should now be level straight with your back. Hold for 2-3 seconds and return your leg and arm to the starting position. Repeat the motion with the opposite hand and leg.

Continue to do this exercise for 15-30 repetitions.

26Aug
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Cross Training

Cross training is the new in exercise. Everywhere you turn, it seems like someone is talking about going to a cross training class or developing their own routine. But, what is cross training exactly?
Cross training is very simple in principle and the exercise practice is not new. Cross training is essentially circuit training.

Circuit training, what’s that?

Circuit training is implementing different exercise routines in one exercise routine. One commonly will use martial arts, aerobics, or calisthenics in one routine. This method became very popular after the fitness gurus Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper developed the 3 2 1 method. They use three minutes of strength, two minutes of abdominal work, and one minute of cardiovascular exercise. One workout will consist of 4 to 8 circuits or rounds of this method.

Why it is popular

This method is so popular for a few reasons with the most common reason being it works. It creates muscle confusion. When it is no longer hard for you to complete, you can add heavier weight. This will create more resistance and stimulate more muscle growth. Another reason it is popular is it helps the exerciser not feel bored with the exercises. This is because it combines many different exercises in one short exercise. It will also allow you to have results much sooner than if you did not cross train or use circuit training.

How can I start

Starting is not difficult. The first step is to figure out which exercises you really like doing. If you are a big fan of martial arts then use kick boxing as part of your routine. Pushups, jumping jacks, and squats are a wonderful exercise to use as your cardio exercises. For the ab workout, you can complete crunches, bicycle crunches, or toe touches. Or if you do not wish to develop your own routine, you can buy a Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper DVD. They retail for around $10USD.

The fact is that it doesn’t matter what exercises you do, as long as you are active. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. This can be done by using stairs instead of the elevator or walking instead of driving the car. Move your body more, and you will achieve your fitness goals. If strength training, it is also important not to use the scale as your only gauge. Since you will be add muscle to your body composition, experts advise you to use the tape measure to determine your body fat.

19Aug
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How to Develop a Circuit Training Workout

We’ve all wondered watching a exercise video, I could do that. You can and should develop your own routine. It will help you not be bored with your exercise and will help you develop exercises targeting the muscle groups you want to ficus on. So how do you do a circuit exercise?

Start with Warm up

First is the warm up. You probably should select 4 exercises to do in this routine and repeat them once. If following like Jillian Michaels warm up, she does each exercise for about 30 seconds repeating once. The point of the warm up is to warm up your muscles to avoid injury.

Exercises

The key points are to pick exercises you can do with ease even when tired. This workout will be from 20 to 60 minutes long so you will be tired and wanting it to be over in the end. So it must be simple yet effect exercises. Good exercises are crunches, bicycles crunches, reverse crunches, jumping rope, jumping jacks, push ups, and strength training.

Another tip is to go slow before going intense. What this means is to master the exercise in form before going at it hard and intense. Form is so important in exercise. If the form is not done correctly, you might as well not do it at all.

The last tip is keep it simple. If you keep things simple not just in exercise but in life you will have a better change at success. Circuit training does not need to be perform daily either. Doing it daily will increase the chance of being injured by not allowing yourself time to recover.

Circuit training is a great tool. It allows you to reduce the training time by cross training in strength and cardio at the same time in 30 to 60 minutes time. It can help define and sculpt your body in ways you never imagined. It is hard work. It is definitely a you reap what you sow type of work out routine.
Design your own exercises. Allow your self to work hard. Put your whole heart into the workout and see how your body will transform. The amazing part is when your body transforms, so will your emotional state. You will change from the inside, out.

18Jul
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Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise. It is often recommended to those who need to lose a lot of extra weight because the water is kind to the joints. It is virtually a zero impact sport. Even a person who is very obese can swim and even jog in the water. The bonus to swimming is that it burned a lot of calories even if you are just horsing around with friends or your kids.

Freestyle

Everyone loves to swim. Kids, adults, babies all love the water. A good exercise to start is freestyle swimming. This is one of the most common forms of swimming. They also refer to this method as front crawl. It is common in swimming long distance. The reason it is called freestyle is the swimmer has freedom to choose the style they swim.

Water Jogging

Water jogging is much easier to do than jogging on a treadmill or outside. It has no impact on your shins and legs. The bonus is this exercise will burn a bunch of calories. This exercise is great high intensity interval training (HIIT). To complete a HIIT exercise with water jogging, you would sprint for 30-45 seconds, then rest 30 seconds. Repeat the process 20 times to get a complete workout.

Leisurely Swimming

This is also a great exercise, without feeling tired or out of breath. This exercise is just playing in the water with the kids or doing back flips. It includes walking around the pool holding your baby. You may not realize how many calories you can burn just by throwing your kids in the water or diving off the diving board for an hour or so. It is an excellent form of exercise

The bonus to exercising outside is you receive vitamin D from the sun at the same time. Working out outside is also a great place to clear your head from all the distractions of daily life. It can be a great exercise to be able to be without your family as well. Swimmers are known for their muscular build, lean physique, and endurance. Swimming is also a great way to break up your normal workout routine while getting Cardio at the same time. It is a win win for exercise and getting a break from hard exercise.