Money-wise For Muscles
By: Sherri L Dodd
American Council of Exercise teamed with Consumer Reports to find the most effective exercise equipment. While they had plenty to say about weight equipment and cardio machines, abdominal, butt and inner thigh devices barely received a nod. In fact, the words used were “None worth considering.”
Now, remember the purpose of Consumer Reports is to find the best buy for the money, which may contribute to the lambasting of belly and butt busters. But, the duo went on to explain that a large portion of the devices did not do what they claimed and the rest proved no more effective than regular floor exercises.
For abdominals, and the often forgotten Obliques, if you find that you are bored with the same old crunch session, my suggestion would be to consider the many alternatives. Mom Looks Great has a list and the instructions to a plethora of abdominal exercises. Leg lifts (for abdominals? …YOU BET!), side crunches and free weight side bends to name a few offer different positions as well as target different areas of the muscles. All are completely free of charge; and, unlike the devices, can be done on a whim. This beats running to the garage to blow off the dust from your $20-30 piece of hinged metal.
For your Glutes (i.e., butt), there are also many muscle toning exercises from which to choose. Add free weights and you can bet that your backside will be burning from the progress you will be making. First off, a simple, non-equipped squat is one of the best and most effective exercises for the backside area. Depending on your strength, add 10-20 pound dumbbells and eventually your favorite pants will have a whole new fit. As a side note, one of my favorite behind builders is the dead lift with dumbbells. While this move is more for your hamstrings, it definitely adds definition to your behind.
For some, this run of the mill free stuff just doesn’t ‘do it’. If you are one of those who must invest money on contraptions to promote motivation, then let it be. Anything that motivates an individual to maintain a healthy lifestyle cannot be all bad. But, if you can get past the notion that more money means more results, a pair of good running shoes, a small set of free weights and a floor mat will provide a well-rounded fitness routine that has proven effective time and again.
About the Author
Sherri Dodd is the creator and author of Mom Looks Great - The Fitness Program for Moms. She is also an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and a Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant with over fifteen years of exercise experience. She is dedicated to a life of fitness as well as encouraging others to establish healthy habits and a better quality of life.
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The Power of Stretching - Dave Snape
muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.
A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.
The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching.
it can't hurt, right?
So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.
Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
Why are stretching and flexibility considered
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy
know there are plenty of other benefits.
Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from
Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.
Here is some good
instructional material on stretching:
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