Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells

Kettlebells have taken the fitness world by storm over the last few years, with most Gym’s making them available and even classes dedicated to the use of Kettlebells. So what’s so great about them? Should you switch to using a Kettlebell in your work outs?

Kettlebell

Read ahead and find out more.

Like Dumbells, Kettlebells offer varying results depending on how you use them.

Kettlebells are great when combined with cardio exercise as they offer the ability for extra range of motion by being able to swing them and can, depending on the exercises work a wider variety of muscle groups than other free weight exercises.

Word of caution; find a Kettlebell weight that’s suitable for swinging, otherwise you might end up hurting yourself, someone else or breaking something!

 

Some advantages of Kettlebells

  • Kettlebells sit better in the hand when performing exercises that ‘swing’, ‘snatch’ or ‘lift’ the weight.
  • Kettlebells Allow for a better cardio workout allowing for the ability to swing the kettlebell.

Some advantages of Dumbells

  • Sit better in the hand when performing more traditional exercises, particularly those that ‘press’ and ‘push’.
  • Better for strength exercises due to the ability to load and balance weight.

 

The thing to keep in mind here is that both Kettlebells and Dumbells are great. Neither of them are better than each other as they are different. Different in the way they are used, the muscle groups exercised and the results to be had.

There are certainly some free weight exercises that favour the use of Kettlebells and vice-versa. A few that came to mind we’re;

(Disclaimer: You should consult your trainer or a fitness expert before performing these exercises)

Kettlebell High Pull

Works out: Legs, Arms, Glutes, Shoulders

Placing the Kettlebell on the ground in between your legs, stand shoulder width apart and squat down to grab the Kettlebell. Push through your heels using the force of your hips to stand up, while driving your elbow up past your ear until your arm ends up in a ‘chicken-wing’ like position. Lower the Kettlebell back down to the ground. Repeat 10-15 times for each arm.

Kettlebell Back Row

Works out: Back

Find a bench, place your left knee and right hand on it and make sure your back is flat. Your hand should be directly under your shoulder, while your leg directly under your bum. Position your right leg out wide to balance. Pick up Kettlebell with right hand and pull up slowly keeping your right arm close to your body, then slowly lower the Kettlebell. Repeat 10-15 times, swap over to the other side.

Speak to your trainer about more Kettlebell exercises you can incorporate into your routine.

 

So would we recommend dumping the dumbells and moving to the Kettlebell revolution?

No. If anything, we’d recommend finding the right tool for the exercise and the result you’re looking for. In some exercises, a Kettlebell is interchangeable with a dumbbell, but it may provide a different end result due to the way it’s held in the hand and you would operate a Kettlebell.  As mentioned above, for the most part they have their own exercises that provide their own results and the use of Kettlebells should be considered with that in mind.

When in doubt, speak to the team and your fitness centre or personal trainer about what type of exercises you can substitute Kettlebells in for and what the difference in result might be.

24Dec
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Top Yoga Poses

Not many exercises are like Yoga in that it creates a following. People who do practice Yoga are very dedicated to the exercise. They claim it helps them in every aspect of their lives not just their fitness level. Yoga can help your concentration. It has been credited to help in your interactions with other people. It teaches you to be one with yourself. This lead to self-esteem and self-worth. Once you master the beginner poses, you will be ready to tackle the advances poses.

Mountain Pose

You can practice the mountain poses alone or in between other poses. The mountain poses can help you improve your posture greatly. In most advance poses, the instructor will ask you to return to mountain pose.

Uttanasana

This pose is also called Standing Forward bend. This is a pose where you touch your toes basically. It is a pose used to reduce tension, pain, and fatigue. You can do this pose with your knees bend or straight.

Cobra Pose

Rodney Yee, whom is a famous Yoga instructor, list the cobra pose as one of the top ten vital yoga poses. This pose sis used to warm up your core and back muscles. Instead of trying to get your back to be lifted off the floor, it is helpful to focus on keeping your shoulders down and elbows to the side. This concentrates on form instead of the ability to do the pose perfectly.

Downward Facing Dog

This pose is one of the most common yoga poses. Many other routines implement this pose into the routine because it is such an important pose. Many experts state it is a staple in many exercise routines. In this pose you place your hands about 5 feet apart on the floor with legs at the same distance. This exercise literally stretches every muscle in your body.

Warrior Poses

Warrior one, Warrior two, and Warrior Three all are very popular poses. The warrior poses stretch the legs, hips and glutes. They also open the hips so you can complete the more advanced poses. Warrior poses help you become much more aware of how to stretch your body  in every direction simultaneously.

Triangle Pose

The triangle pose is both challenging and beautiful to see. It can be a difficult pose but once you are able to do it correctly it is rewarding. The Yoga Journal recommends this pose to relive stress, backaches, ad to stretch the hips, pelvic areas, and legs.

Supported Headstand

A headstand is a pose that is very hard to master. When training yourself to do this pose, you should use a chair or wall. It is important to support your head well to avoid injury and to use your core muscles. Once you have the confidence that you can complete this pose with ease, try doing it without any support.

Yoga is not only a exercise for many people it is a way of life. Those who practice it will apply yoga to their daily life. For this reason many half jokingly claim, yoga is their religion.  These poses list will help you decide if yoga is right for you. Expert encourage everyone to try yoga, and if not yoga to implement another stretching routine.

10Dec
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Kickboxing: The Ultimate Cardio Workout

Kickboxing is one of the newest trends. The reason it is so popular is it is so much fun. Who doesn’t like punching, kicking, twisting and getting out aggression build up through our daily lives. Experts claim that kickboxing can also help you burn tons of calories, up to 700 per hour for the average 150 pound woman. This number will go up if you weigh more. So the question is, how do you begin a kickboxing workout?

Technique of Kickboxing

Kickboxing combines the techniques of boxing and all forms of martial arts. It uses jabs and counter punches like in boxing. It uses front and side kicks, you would see in martial arts. Completing these exercise will deliver a total body workout. It will place your heart rate in the zone which will cause you to burn a lot of calories.

Shadow Boxing

Shadow boxing is when you visualize an opponent in front of you. Kickboxing classes use this technique often. You would deliver punches, jabs, and kicks to the opponent. The most commonly used shadow boxing routine is a jab, punch, cross punch, and front kick. The classes usually will have music in the background. It will be high energy music that will encourage you to move.

Heavy Bag Workout

Another way to develop your kickboxing skills is to use a heavy bag. You would punch, jab, kick the bag as you would an opponent in the ring. In order to use a heavy bag, one must first use the right athletic shoes and gloves to protect your hands. During the workout, you can deliver a series of kicks or jabs. You can practice the roundhouse kick to the bag or a front kick. The bag will help you see if your technique needs improvement as well as improve your footwork and endurance for a fight.

Strength Training

One cannot ignore the importance of strength training if you want to be a successful kick-boxer. Most kick-boxers will use pushups to tone their shoulders, arms and chest. Another exercise used very often in kick boxing class is a squat combinations. It is common to see a squat punch combination be used. Squats will help tone gain strength in your legs and glutes. In fact,many say squats when combined with weights for your arms, are a total body exercise. Another way to implement strength training in your kick boxing routine is to use weighted gloves when doing heavy bag workouts. This will add one more pound of resistance to each one of the jabs and punches.

Kickboxing is a fun exercise that for some will help shed weight, tone their body, and be a source of almost therapy for a highly stressful life. Kick boxing techniques will take time to master however , once you master them, it will be a sport you love. You may feel odd and awkward at first, but keep practicing, you will love it once you master the moves. Kickboxing can truly change you life in getting into shape and teaching you self control.

29Aug
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What is Pilates?

Pilates is one of the most popular exercises in the World. Pilates was created by a man named Joseph Pilates. It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is doing it from seniors to teenagers. Many people have ideas what Pilates is but not many people know six Pilates principles.

Pilates is Adaptable

Pilates is great for beginners and advanced exercisers because it is fairly easy to modify the exercises. In fact, Pilate’s experts say all Pilate’s exercises were designed with a modification in mind. This makes Pilates a great one size fits all type exercise.

The Six Principles of Pilates

Concentration

You must concentrate on your movements at all times, making your movements smooth and fluid. The concentration aspect of Pilate is linked as a pain relief for those with back pain or Parkinson’s disease.

Control

Joseph Pilates referred to the control aspect of Pilates ‘Contrology”. Pilates works by controlling the smooth muscle movements. Pilates will teach you to work with your body not be at its mercy to be kind to you.

Centering

Centering is used very often in Pilates. In order to succeed in Pilates once must finding their center or powerhouse as many Pilates practicer refer to it as. The movements will then come from the center or powerhouse, out to the limbs. Many times the center will be the abdominal region.

Flow

Flow is the movement from the core to the extremities. The movements should be coordinated and smooth. Once the basic exercises are achieved, you would try an even more difficult exercise and master that one, and move to the next level.

Precision

Precision is the practice of doing Pilates correctly. In theory, if you would incorrectly do Pilates, it erases all the value of doing the exercise in the first place. For this reason, they recommend you complete the Pilates exercises slow, carefully watching your form.

Breathing

Breathing is the center component of Pilates. Pilate instructors teach their classes to breathe very deeply often using the terms ‘breathing from the back’. They will use breathing instruction with the exercises typical. Learning to breathe correctly will help improve the blood circulation.

Pilates is a well-rounded exercise that is fit for all, even pregnant women. If expecting, it is important to see the advice of your doctor and take a class from a professional who has experience with pregnant moms. Pilate can help you increase your flexibility, strength while increasing you’re your self- confidence in the process. Pilate will help your muscle feel stretched and relax your body. It is an amazing work out that is great for all to do either regularly or occasionally.

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.

25Jul
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Weight Lifting For Women

Weight lifting used to be considered a men exercise. Women would strictly do cardio to avoid having any muscles. They would strictly do running, walking, or aerobics. Women wanted to be very thin. That is a thing of the past. Now women want to have muscles, lifting heavy weights, and be fit not skinny.

Benefits to Lifting Weights

Women, and me as well, lift weights for the muscle definition. One of the biggest benefit to lifting weights is it burns fat. This helps by increasing your metabolism thus burning more calories in a day. This will translate to the person being able to eat more food. Lifting weight will also give you results you can see. You will see the muscle showing. You will feel stronger and able to do more in your strength workouts like pushups or pull-ups. Weight training should be incorporated in every exercise plan for two to three days a week.

Basics to Weightlifting

In order to successfully gain muscle mass you must be able to increase the weight gradually. You may start with 10 pounds, then add weight to 15 pounds, and so on. Another foundation is when lifting, you must isolate the muscle to force it to change. The last tip is allow the muscle rest time. The general rule is 48-72 hours rest between working the same muscle group. If you do not rest the muscle group you will risk injury and over training.

Overtraining

Over-training can be a real problem for many weight lifters. One of the most common reasons for overtraining is doing too much too soon. You must, allow your muscle time to rest. There are tell-tell signs of overtraining.

These symptoms are:

  • Fatigue or insomnia
  • Injuries
  • Headaches
  • Lack of energy to complete workouts

If you are not able to sleep, workout, or feel ill, you may be training too hard too soon. Try giving yourself a few days rest to see if your body recovers enough to be able to get back into working out daily again.

Lifting weights is a fun sport but, should be done safely. Consult a book or a personal trainer that can show you the correct way to lift. They can should you routines that will target certain muscle groups and develop a work out plan for you. When lifting weights it is also important to eat enough calories and protein to feed the muscle growth. If you feed yourself well, eat enough calories and fats, you will see amazing results.

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.