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12:38 PM  [23 Jan 2009 | Friday]

How to Warm Up Before Doing Exercise

Despite the numerous benefits of warming up, a lot of recreational athletes put in little or no time at all in preparing for a work out session. As the name implies, a warm-up drill increases body temperature. The rise in temperature trims down the risks for muscle injuries, as well as connective tissue damages. Apart from reducing the risks for injury, a warm up drill prior to a work out improves blood flow to the muscles. As a result, muscle performance is enhanced.

Various studies have also revealed that warm up drills boost the speed of nerve impulses to the muscles, making it possible for athletes to pull off quicker reaction times. This is one of the reasons why professional athletes put in more time for warm up exercises as compared to a lot of recreational sports enthusiasts-they are aware that warming up will help put off injuries and will enhance their overall performance.

Some people may think that there is a secret behind what they call an excellent warm up. In reality, however, there isn't. Like any other warm up drill, you should start off by exercising at a snail's pace for three to five minutes or until a light sweat begins to trickle down your body. After that, you can proceed with gradually stretching the specific muscles you intend to use later on. Every stretch should be sustained for fifteen to thirty seconds with no bouncing.

Light calisthenics and jogging are some of your options to prep your body up for more strenuous physical movements. These light and easy exercises help lessen muscle tightness, which restricts your body's muscle power and mechanical efficiency.

Aside from loosening up tight muscles, a warm up helps you perspire earlier on. One of the advantages of sweating is that it encourages evaporative heat loss. As a result, the amount of heat stored up by the body is decreased thereby preventing the body temperature from going up to dangerously elevated levels.
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12:35 PM  [23 Jan 2009 | Friday]

3 Warm Up Steps Before Exercising

The basic workout routine should begin with a warm-up which allows you to gradually raise your heart rate in view of the fact that extreme exercises abruptly change your heart rate. It must be remembered that it is only after you warm up that you should try to move to more intense cardiovascular exercises that increases your heart rate such as the knee lifts and the lunges. Then after that, you can proceed to more intense routines such as strengthening workout exercises with the use of hand-held weights and elastic tubing that aid in toning upper and lower body muscles. Then after that, you still need to cool down to put your heart to a resting pulse.

This is basically how a fitness routine should be like. It should follow the stages in order not to abruptly strain your heart or your body. So never forget to do warm up exercises before getting into serious business of extreme workout. Here are 3 steps to warm up before a workout routine.

1. Jogging and walking - The routine is probably the most basic of all routines that you should do before you start with the rest of the exercises. Jogging provides you with the warm up exercise to condition your body for the rest of the other routines. You can do a ten-minute jogging and walking combination and in between you can insert some stretching.

2. Low impact workouts - what you observe is that there are those who go to the gym and immediately proceed with strengthening exercises. That is precisely wrong because you would rather strain muscles that are yet unconditioned. In the same manner, before you get into intense cardiovascular exercises, you should condition your heart and blood vessels with low impact aerobics. The most common forms of a low impact workout are the step aerobics. You can put on music and then do a series of foot exercises such as stepping in place, knee lifts and simple lunges. Step aerobics is interesting and all you need here is a platform of roughly 4 by 12 inches. Simply step on and off the platform while you do the knee lifts and lunges. It is important though to keep one foot on the ground as you do the steps in order to minimize the stress on your knees and joints.

3. Yoga and Stretching - these are best for people who want warm up activities that are definitely less stressful particularly to adults and children who have certain disabilities that they can only perform moderate routines. Stretching is easy if you know the principle behind. There is no need to follow the steps but all you need to know is that every part of your muscle can be stretched to a certain degree. Simply stretch your upper extremities as far as your flexibility can allow.

All these warm up exercises help you condition your body and muscles for an extreme work out and prevent you from having back pains or injury after an extreme work out.


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12:32 PM  [23 Jan 2009 | Friday]

Warm Up Before Exercising

When you have to fit an exercise routine already in your busy schedule, you might be tempted to simply skip the warm up routine, even if you've heard horror stories about people injured on the job. Three words: not to. When you spend your warm welcome, you're not only putting your body that the risk of injury, but you're also making the training more difficult and less effective. For best results, it is important to warm up whenever you work.

The warming did not eat for the time you do with your day. In fact, a workout only decent must be 5 minutes to do its job. It need not be boring is that you can mix a large number of initiatives to make your warm up as a source of pleasure for the rest of your exercise. Remember that a good warm up all your muscles moving, even if you do not think you'll be working intensely on a set of muscles on a single day. The warming is also important, regardless of whether you are doing cardiovascular exercise or lifting weights.

The moves you do to warm up should not necessarily be difficult or make you break a sweat. The main objective of heating is not to become a part of your training, but simply to move slowly muscles that you have not really thought about all day on them. Good moves therefore include things like jogging in place, doing jumping jacks, lunge, and jumping rope.

A good warming may also extends slowly including the muscles in various ways, but it is generally more effective in cooling. It may also be exercises that work on balance and form in order to get ready for the exercises will be done in training.

If you're really short time, why not try to warm up before going to the gym. Little by little jogging or walking to the gym, park as far away as possible and lunge at the door, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. That way, when you get to the gym to your workout routine warming is already halfway done.

A good training always built in intensity. This is the best way to shed pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Weight loss that meetings are at risk if you do not hot, because otherwise your body will respond to prevent injuries. Although May you be tempted to skip this step, which is never a good idea.

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12:28 PM  [23 Jan 2009 | Friday]

Importance of Warming Up Before Exercising

Commonly known to most as a "warm-up," the extra five or ten minutes of physical activity before a workout are essential in ensuring that you maintain stamina and avoid soreness or injury. Most fitness enthusiasts know how important a warm-up can be and how much of a positive effect a few extra minutes can have on the quality of your workout and health.

When you start any workout, your heart, muscles and metabolic energy pathways are all stimulated to support the fitness activity. To compensate for contracting muscles, the heart is forced to beat faster to increase blood flow and oxygen. In effect, you begin to breath faster and the extra blood being is sent to your muscles so that they can work better. Because both the temperature of your blood and rate at which oxygen is being released has increased, your muscles become warmer. As a result, fatty acids are able to burn calories to automatically produce energy so that you can workout with more intensity.

Below, I've listed several ways that warming up can benefit your workout.

1) Your joints move more efficiently.
2) Because you're improving the flexibility of your muscles, you're less likely be hurt.
3) Muscle contractions will be quicker and more powerful.
4) You'll discourage lactic acid from accumulating in the blood stream, enabling you to exercise for longer periods of time.
5) Oxygen will be carried faster to muscle groups that you're working because you've already increased your metabolic rate.
6) You'll be ready for a harder workout because you're interest and concentration on fitness has been stimulated.
7) Your body temperature will rise, helping you to successfully burn more calories.
8) The neural message pathways to your muscles will be speed up, giving you more control over the muscles and a better overall workout.

When it comes to selecting which warm-up exercises you'll be performing, take a look at what you'll be doing during a workout. It's as easy as performing that activity at a lower intensity. For instance, if you're main workout will be running on a treadmill, begin by walking and jogging slowly. A proper warm-up is made up of an aerobic activity focusing on the muscle groups you'll use during the main exercise as well as various stretches.

There's no way to identify any kind of target intensity for a warm-up. The goal is to not become tired but still get warm enough and perspire. Base the length of your warm-up on your personal level of fitness as well as what it is you'll be doing during your main exercise.

Once you've completed an aerobic warm-up, it's essential that you stretch. Focus on the muscle groups you'll be utilizing during your main fitness activity. Since you're muscles are already warm from the aerobic warm-up, your muscles should be more flexible and the stretch will be more powerful.

By simply adding five or ten additional minutes to the beginning of your workout, you're making sure that your body will respond better to exercise. As a result, you'll find that you have more successful results and you're less tired during physical activity, which makes the overall experience much more pleasurable.

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12:36 PM  [14 Jan 2009 | Wednesday]

Improving the Push Ups

Over my years as a performance coach I have performed and overseen 1000's of postural/ movement assessments. In doing so, I have successfully used push-ups as both an assessment tool and as a corrective exercise. Here is one of the most common movement flaws I've seen
during the push up and a simple way to correct it. "Simplicity is the key to brilliance" Bruce Lee

Common Push Up Flaw - Faulty Spinal Alignment

This type of flaw is seen in just about gym and is normally caused by a lack of general body awareness, torso strength and postural stability. Faulty spinal alignment can appear as;
-Sagging head
-Sagging back (lordosis)
-Hunching back (kyphosis)
-Any combination of the above.

In some cases people will begin with ideal alignment and gradually loose alignment as the exercises progresses and fatigue sets in. In other cases they will start out right away with poor alignment. Regardless of when the fault happens, this is a muscle imbalance that needs to be corrected! The imbalance I'm referring to is that the mover muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps, etc;) involved in pushing the body away from the floor are stronger and posses more endurance than the spinal stabilizer muscles that are responsible for maintaining ideal alignment. In other words, you're unable to control the movement and force that you can create. This can put you on the fast track to injury. It's for this reason that I usually do a max rep test on the push up during my performance assessments. This allows me to see if their stabilizers give out before their prime movers. The solution to this alignment problem lies with a very high tech piece of gym equipment. A dowel rod. There is the 3 step progression we use to correct faulty spinal alignment issues using the dowel rod.

Step 1- Build awareness

The quadruped position shortens the lever arm (bent legs) and takes most of the load off the system while still keeping the torso and arms in a very similar position to the push up. The dowel is placed along the spine and is kept in contact with 3 points; back of the head (not the top), Thoracic region (between shoulder blades) and Sacrum (tail bone). This forces you to understand and become aware of proper alignment.

Step 2- Static control

The elbow plank takes what was learned in step one and lengthens the lever arm (straight legs). This increases postural stability and endurance in a manner necessary to perform the push up successfully. I try to progress everyone to be able to maintain this position for at least 1min without deviation. The hold time we choose for each individual is usually double the number in seconds of their max push up reps. Example= if your rep max is 30 push-ups then you should be able to hold the elbow plank for 60sec. We use this standard because the average push up is performed at a 1-1 tempo, which translates into each rep taking 2sec, at 30 reps that would take 60 sec.

Step 3- Dynamic control

Once awareness is created and strength/endurance is built, the final step is to integrate both components into the actual movement itself, in this case the push up. The dowel push-up is much more challenging than it looks because so much effort is dedicated to maintaining alignment. Eventually, as your postural endurance improves, this push- up will become easier. We try to get everyone to achieve the same rep max with the dowel rod as without it. Once you can do this, the dowel is no longer needed. Click here to see pictures of each exercise listed above.

A few additional notes on the above progression;

- During all (1-3) progressions, the dowel should remain in contact with the back of the head, T-spine and sacrum.
- Begin with neutral spinal alignment and stop the exercises when spinal curvatures change or the dowel falls.
- The worst your alignment is, the harder these exercises will be and the longer it will take to progress through them.
- Use a mirror at floor level to help with visual feedback, body position and awareness.
- In the case of a hunch back (kyphosis), I recommend you perform some additional anterior abdominal stretches because the rectus abdominals is most likely overactive.


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12:32 PM  [14 Jan 2009 | Wednesday]

Push Up - Upper Body Strength Development

As I've mentioned in other articles, the push up is most likely the first exercise that you learned and the one lay-people do almost instinctively when they try to work out. Yet, the Push Up still remains one of the most valuable and effective movements, provided you know how to use it to its fullest potential. It's my goal to give you a new appreciation for the push up and how to use creative push up variations to develop incredible upper body strength. When it comes to building strength, I have not heard many coaches incorporating the push up. This is most likely because they don't feel it provides enough overload. In general I would have to agree. However, there is one style of push-up that can humble even the strongest athlete.

The One Arm Push-Up The one arm push-up is by far one of the best exercises for developing incredible upper body strength and torso stability, yet it has basically been forgotten. I feel that the one arm push up is the king of all push-ups and therefore it's a staple exercise at our facility among our advanced athletes. Because of its difficulty we use a specific progression strategy to help our athletes accomplish the one arm push up.

Stage 1- One Arm Plank The one arm plank develops the body awareness and torso control required to perform the one arm push up successfully. The goal is to maintain a flat pelvis and avoid rotation at the pelvis and lumbar spine. The one arm plank actually has its own mini-progression. We start with a wide base of support and gradually progress to a closer base which requires more torso stability.

Stage 2- Lock offs This exercise builds off of the stability developed in stage 1 and starts to add some single arm strength. This stage also develops the ability to "lock off" at the top position, hence the name.

Stage 3- Roll Over's Now that a solid foundation of torso stability and lock off strength has been achieved, we can add the roll over push up. The roll over push up can be done in alternating fashion or one side at time. This exercise teaches correct body positioning and builds the strength required to push out from the bottom of the one arm push up while still allowing some assistance from the other arm. In order to ensure proper strength progression, make sure to gradually use the arm on the side you're leaning toward (the working side) more and more and the opposite arm (the non working side) less and less. Example; The percentages are how to distribute your body-weight from arm to arm on the roll over push-up 70% - 30% 80% - 20% 90% - 10%.

Once you're able to achieve a 90% -10% weight distribution from both arms for at least 6 reps, you will be more than ready to start performing the full 1 arm push up. Feet Elevated Push-Up w/Plate If one arm push-ups aren't your style then you might want to try this variation. This style push up can actually work to develop hypertrophy or strength depending on the weight, tempo, reps and rest used. Use a heavy enough plate and your abs will be talking to you as well. Click here to see pictures of each exercise listed above.

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12:39 PM  [06 Jan 2002 | Sunday]

Few Things we Eliminated From Our Lives That Keeps Us Healthy

What are we doing wrong with our health that so many people you know are sick or are dying with killer diseases like cancer, heart disease or diabetes? What about others that are stricken with other "lifestyle conditions" that may not cause them to die but make their lives miserable?

There are also huge numbers of others that are struggling with being overweight or obese including children and others that feel lousy and are tired and worn out much of the time.

How could we have we let ourselves become so unhealthy?

This situation is so worrying that we could not be blamed for wondering what will happen to us, if we will be unlucky and fall victim to a life threatening disease or illness.

Will we be taken from our families before our time with no control over the situation?

If we are living what is considered a "normal" lifestyle and are enjoying the fruits of modern science and technology we are living a very high risk lifestyle. You see, in our modern day world being physically active is no longer needed to survive. Every single piece of "work" has been replaced with machines, household appliances, cars etc.

But there is one major flaw with this situation. What about the human body? We now know that it cannot stay healthy without vigorous activity but that has been removed and replaced to make our lives easier. It doesn't make sense that we would do this to ourselves. But we have.

The human body is hardwired to repair and replace itself at cellular level only when certain hormones (chemical messengers) are stimulated. Intense vigorous activity or movement is the mechanism that triggers this. Without these constant signals to the cells a spiral of declining health follows. In other words "shut down" mode is set in place and degeneration, accelerated aging and a high risk of disease follows.

Our body doesn't actually know how many years old it is, but it does know when it is not being used in the manner it is designed for and has been operating for tens of thousands of years. Just because we make changes to our lives it does not automatically follow that the human body makes changes to its blueprint and how it operates.

The solution is so very simple we could wonder why it is not more widely promoted and talked about. Our present "sickness treatment" system is financially motivated so how would it survive without a constant supply of sick victims? The change is unlikely to come from that greedy and outdated model.

The sensible thing for each of us to do is to take back control of our own health and well-being. This would free ourselves from the scary prospect of being taken out by some premature and preventable disease that could sneak up on us from behind when we aren't looking.

The first step in our own personal prevention strategy is to quickly implement a proper exercise program that contains at least 60% strength training. For this program to work in the best and fastest possible way it is important that it is set up by a fitness professional.

You will need to be shown not only what exercises to perform and how to do them correctly but how intensely and what duration and frequency you need to work at. Only 2-3 sessions per week are needed if done correctly and time is not being wasted on ineffective low intensity activities such as walking, cycling etc.

This simple solution quickly puts back the main mechanism to keep you healthy in literally hundreds of different ways. Most of these will occur on the inside of your body where you can't see them. But you will feel them in a very short time, more energy, feeling better and much more alive, any stress will be dissipated and you will be happier, calmer and saner.

Think of your exercise program as medicine and the impact of this medicine is both healing and preventive. This will go a long way to making the positive changes that will reduce human and financial losses associated with chronic life threatening diseases.

It is the self-health care that we all need to regenerate the body and mind and rekindle the spirit, adding years to life and life to years.

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12:36 PM  [06 Jan 2002 | Sunday]

Health Always Seems Much More Valuable to Us After We Lose It

Many people claim their health is of paramount importance to them yet they are unwilling to spend a little money on a health coach or a gym membership or put some effort into a proper exercise program. You may ask yourself "What am I doing right now, today, to ensure my functional fitness for the next 20, 30, 40 or more years?" If the answer is "nothing" or "very little" you are in big trouble.

With virtually every scrap of vigorous activity removed from our modern day lives, appliances to do our housework, machines to perform manual tasks, cars to transport us around, food on the supermarket shelves, we do not have to lift a finger to prosper in our world.

But we have forgotten something - what about the human body? Hardwired for tens of thousands of years to perform large amounts of vigorous activity or "work" as it was once known. This ability allowed us to survive in the harsh, dangerous, physical world that for our ancestors was reality.

Nothing has changed for our bodies, they are still programmed to need the stimulation of chemical messengers triggered by intense physical effort to deliver instructions to every single cell in our bodies to repair and replace themselves. You see the physical movement tells the system that this body is needed to hunt and feed and look after a family.

If there is not enough movement to deliver these signals the system is programmed to go into shut down mode to make room for others that need the resources available. This is true efficiency and is what has allowed the human race to prosper. This shut down mode involves accelerated aging and a greater disease risk as the protection of good health has dwindled away.

If we continue to send the right signals to the cells they will stay strong and will repair and replace themselves for as long as the body is being told strength, endurance, stamina, leanness, vitality and health is needed.

You cannot expect to be healthy by being doctor and drug reliant - a pill for your blood pressure, a pill for your cholesterol, and a pill for your blood sugar. Come on, this is not health care. You wouldn't need medication if you were healthy. Don't believe that your health insurance will keep you healthy either - it only pays for disease care. Isn't that a little late to be called "health care?"

Everything in life is moving in a direction - either it is getting better or it is getting worse. How is your health now as compared to five years ago and what is it likely to be like five years from now? If it is important to you there is one thing you should be doing and that is a proper exercise program that contains strength training exercise.

This is the only type of exercise that will keep your muscles, bones, joints, heart, immune system and every cell in your body strong and healthy. Forget the low intensity cardio type exercise like walking, swimming, cycling etc. These activities are recreational and are a great addition to an active lifestyle but do not replace a proper exercise program.

Having to take some responsibility for your own health and well-being is a bit inconvenient but consider this. How inconvenient would it be to get a life threatening, life shattering medical diagnosis? How tiresome would it be to have to find time for doctors, tests, specialists, hospitals, surgeons? How much emotional stress, aggravation, frustration, fear and worry would this situation cause you?

Wouldn't it make so much more sense to simply do what your body needs to stay healthy and spend 2-3 hours per week on the right exercise program? If you agree with this make sure you get a fitness professional to set this program up to teach you correct exercise technique, intensity, duration and frequency. Your program should also be monitored and changed frequently.

Achieving and having health throughout your life is possible and easier than you think but it does involve being willing to work on it. Think of this commitment as a gift to those that love you, as they would want you to be around for a very long time.

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