All posts by scienceadmin

Avoiding Back Injuries while Weightlifting

Well, it happened. I had been on such a good streak of training safely that something had to have happened. As it turns out, last week was my time to pay the price. I was completing a really good bicep day. However, during this day, I was a little upset by something that had happened to me earlier in the morning. My game plan for this fateful bicep workout looked something like this:

Barbell Curls: 3-5 sets
Seated Machine Curls: 3 sets
Preacher Curls: 3-5 sets
Tricep Dumbbell Extensions with One Arm: 3 sets

I’m sure that this looks like a normal workout for most you. The really strong people out there will probably look at this as more of a warmup. However, this was the workout that I wanted to and did complete. I didn’t notice that anything had happened until that night. It was really scary, as the pain in the middle of my back felt way too close to my chest.

One thing you have to watch out for when weightlifting is a secret about soreness that most won’t tell you about. As I’ve learn first hand, soreness doesn’t have to happen while you are lifting. If you’ve pulled something while lifting, you might not know until later. I am not sure if I tore something that wasn’t that bad in the beginning.

All I know is that I went to turn my neck and felt a wave of back start in my pain. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I couldn’t tell if the tightness was in my chest or back. What I did know was that I started pacing around the kitchen and I could feel myself start to sweat. Thank goodness, I wasn’t having a heart attack like I had feared. What did happen was that my muscles were pulled from overexertion.

What I didn’t tell you yet about this recent fateful day was that I did something stupid. Being upset from something earlier, I wanted to let the weights know that I was feeling extra strong. Like an idiot, I loaded up heavier weight than what I was accustomed to.

It either happened during the barbell curls or the seated machine curls. I can’t say for sure but I know on the twp previously mentioned exercises, I went too far with weight levels. It has taken me about four full days to feel human again. The first two days were so bad that nothing would bring me comfort. I tried to contort myself in many ways, trying to find comfort that wouldn’t come until day three. Making matters worse, I still felt like I was in a good amount of pain and could barely turn my neck.

The best way to avoid nagging back pain before or after lifting is to know your limits. If you are training biceps, watch out for jerking your back. You might not think so but moving your back too far can be done, even while training an unrelated muscle group. When you complete pulling motions with your biceps that energy can be carried into the back muscles. If you are using too much motion, you can turn the way that your back will not like. If you’re anything like me, your back will be very angry that you moved it in an funny way and you will hurt.

Breaking Down Barriers to Train

Oftentimes, I hear many different excuses as to why someone isn’t working out. Isn’t it funny that there are always so many reasons not to do something? To me, that seems like such a waste of brainpower! What I wanted to do today was to go over these reasons that I hear about why people can’t be bothered to exercise. From there, I am going to counter argue those points, something my wife hates me for doing! Let’s get started by looking at some common barriers to why people are not exercising.

You Don’t Have Enough Time: This is the most common excuse that I hear from people about exercising. However, it only seems like you don’t have the time because your brain is playing tricks on you. If you compare yourself, who might not be in perfect shape yet, to someone who has trained for years there is going to be a big difference. What is important is that you realize getting in better shape takes time. If you go into working out with the mindset that expects instant results, you will be letdown. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start lifting weights.

Getting enough exercise only takes a few hours a week, no joke! If you work 40 hours a week and sleep 8 hours a night, that is a total of 96 hours a week. As you know, there are 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. Doing the math with the information you’ve just received probably has you thinking a little differently.

I Don’t Want to Look Stupid: Every single person that lifts weights had to have a first trip to the gym. Most likely, every person feels the same way you did about their first time to go and lift weights. It is natural to feel nervous and scared but don’t be! Most of the time, gyms are filled with helpful people that will assist you. Don’t be intimidated by the big muscles and loud noises, they are just there to workout, just like you! If you want to not look like a total beginner, think about checking out some weightlifting videos.

YouTube is filled to the brim with helpful tutorials of just about any lift you could think of. Over the years, I have tried so many exercises that I start to get them mixed up. Whenever I feel stumped as to how to perform whatever muscle dumbbell extension I am about to do, I know it is only one YouTube search away.

It’s Too Difficult: I don’t what this next section to sound too mean so I will try to restrain myself. However, if there is one pet peeve of mine it is people who coast through life never putting in any effort. Whether or not it felt like it, it did take work to develop the body that you have now. If you are overweight, it took work for your body to process those extra fats and carbs. Lifting weights should be challenging but never impossible. If you are frustrated with never progressing in your weightlifting, check your ego and lower the weights. As someone who frequently works out in a public gym, let me be the first to tell you that I don’t care how little you are lifting. No one is going to point and laugh if you can only curl ten pounds. We are all too busy worrying about we can curl!

 

ZUU is a Workout Like Nothing You’ve Tried

In a world that is filled with trends that are here one minute and gone the next, it’s tough to keep up with them all. However, one new way of getting into shape has been around since before you and I. This new style of workout is called ZUU and those who try it will be feeling a little like an animal. ZUU uses animal style movements to complete sets and it isn’t for the weak. This style of workout has been used to train some of the toughest people in the world. Military and police forces around the world use ZUU. People going to these classes will learn how to complete all sorts of movements. However, there really isn’t any equipment or fancy machinery you need for a ZUU class. You will primarily use pushing and pulling movements to complete these exercises.

The basis of these movements are actually moves that animals have used for thousands of years. One thing that people who go to ZUU classes will notice is that they are all about community. Teamwork is very important to the people who are all about ZUU. These classes aren’t meant to last for hours on end, most workouts only take about 30 minutes to complete. However, be prepared that you will be doing quite a lot during this half hour. The exercises in the ZUU program are to be repeated at a fast rate. There are not many breaks during a ZUU class but your team of caring workout warriors will be there to help you. Encouragement is another important benefit of attending a ZUU class. Too many workout classes are all about individual achievement when we should be celebrating everyone’s effort. I’m not saying everyone needs to get a ZUU participation trophy but you get the idea.

I hate going into a gym and feeling like everyone is competing with each other. I am all for having a competitive spirit but some people get too out of control with that kind of attitude. ZUU classes are rising in popularity and have began to be attempted by everybody. No longer is this way of getting fit sealed behind the doors of fighting teams. Now, it appears that everyone will get a chance to monkey arouifajosfijasfnd when this fitness class comes to their town, I couldn’t resist at least one cheesy pun. However, some are finding that they push themselves way too hard in the early rounds of this workout. You will want to ensure that you the pace you set is one you can keep. You don’t want to exhaust yourself in the first thirty seconds of your class, it will be embarrassing. Instead, try to set a pace that you can keep for about 20 minutes. It will take time to get used to the way of exercising that dates back to the animal kingdom.

 

There are actually many benefits to this style of exercising. One big advantage is that you don’t have to worry about injuries associated with heavy weights. Another perk is the general helpful and friendly attitude of who you will be exercising beside. No one wants to have to deal with a jerk in the gym. There are many new ZUU classes forming and it is very likely that one could be headed to your town very soon. However, you will have to check around with your local fitness facilities in order to obtain that information.

Should You Get A Mask for Your Workouts?

There are always new trends in the world of exercise. It seems that one new innovation, commonly known as a training mask, can provide people with tons of benefits. Training masks were initially made for those who were wanting to train at higher elevations. As you know, when you are exercises at locations that are elevated, it can have a negative effect on your breathing. In higher elevations, the air changes that occur are so noticeable that it can hold back your training. The different high-altitude air can also change the way that you naturally breathe. Chances are, your own breathing style is what makes your workouts succeed.

Throwing in a new environment, with different air, can mean your breathing is thrown off, much like your entire workout. The new wave of training masks aren’t only meant for training in elevated environments, some are claiming to change the way that you exercise. Increasing your strength is a concept of exercise that is hard enough to perfect. You know how to gain more strength but when it comes to actually lifting, your strength goes out the window. What is harder to ensure is getting greater, over strength, would be endurance. When most want to increase their endurance, they start on cardio workouts. Weightlifters that don’t utilize cardio can be missing out on many different opportunities to increase their endurance. Athletes who are needing a way to increase endurance levels have been getting behind the training mask.

One benefit of the hands-free training mask is that you don’t have to carry anything around. The dangers of trying to carry a sort of oxygen tank into the gym can create a mess. You won’t want to have large weights near anything combustible, like an oxygen tank. What you’re going to notice with the continued use of training masks is that your endurance will start to increase. The one drawback of these devices is that you will have to wear them throughout your entire workout. What I do like about training masks is that they don’t have to fit over your entire head. You don’t have to worry that you are going to have any parts of your eyes covered. Most training masks are able to fit effectively over the lower half of the face. Having stamina isn’t just a big component of a successful exercise plan, it is the main part. Without proper endurance, you are more likely to give up on your training. One of the secrets of some of the best weightlifters in the world are that they have amazing endurance.

Strength is to be gained but endurance must be maintained! These training masks are widely available and are fairly inexpensive. Most of the masks I have come across are durable and easy to wear. You can choose to have a plain model that doesn’t draw too much attention. You may even want to ask the staff at your gym if training masks are allowed to be used. Walking in to any business with a half mask on your face could draw some unwanted attention! I believe that we are only seeing the beginning of the popularity of a training mask. Entire sports teams are started to use these masks and I think that momentum will continue. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing more of these half-masks at your local gym.

Getting Fit on the Farm: Who Needs a Gym Membership?

One woman’s recent fitness showing had everyone wondering how she did it. However, her training wasn’t the product of a gym membership. I’m not knocking going to a fancy gym, I love my time spent in nice facilities. However, it is nice to know that you don’t need to spend those membership dues if you really want to shape up. One common exercise technique that can be used is the tire. No, there aren’t the tires that you get replaced on your vehicle but rather much larger tires, like those seen on tractors. Although they are made of just rubber, these larger tractor tires can weigh quite a bit. Not only do these tires weigh a ton they are also quite large!

flipping wheels

There are many different exercises that can be performed with a large tire. One favorite lift to do with a tire is a deadlift. Much like you’ve seen with actual weights, you can do a tire deadlift by simply picking the tire up and setting it back down. Since a tire is shaped to have a large hole in the center of it, you’ll usually stand in the middle, think of it like a really big hula hoop.

One exercise that I’ve seen people do with a tire but never understood it was the sledgehammer against a tire. However, a buddy of mine recently told me why people are taking hammers to tires. The key is not to think of anything involving the tire, it’s not there for strength. The true exercise comes from repeatedly swinging a heavy sledgehammer. After hearing this exercise explained in such a clear way, it made way more sense to me. Another benefit of using a sledgehammer and tire in combination is that it is a great way to relive stress. Seriously, after a bad day at the office there is not a much better way to get out your anger than knocking around a tire with a sledgehammer. Considering that you are going to be swinging around a heavy object, be sure that no one is standing around you. In addition, ensure that you know the right position to stand in when swinging a sledgehammer. You don’t want such a heavy hammer to get away from you while you are swinging it. A sledgehammer that is coming down with every ounce of force you can muster isn’t an object you want crashing into your shins.

Another popular way to train with a large tire is to flip it. It might sound like a relatively simple task to flip a tire over but it really does require a lot of work. First, you’ve got to get yourself positioned under the tire and use your lower body strength to flip that tire over. You learn quickly just how much a large tractor tire can weigh when you are trying to turn it over, that’s for sure! However, after a day of flipping around a tire you will be amazed at how beneficial it is for your muscles.

Don’t just believe one woman’s inspirational story, there are many other people who have used the great outdoors as their gym. You may have heard of one notable case, he is kind of a big deal. This super athlete, better known as Brock Lesnar, has loved farm training. Currently, he lives in Canada but has been known all his life to love the outdoors to use as a training place. Many people have decided to change their minds about where you can train and are now opting for a strictly outdoors training session.

Great Amazon Prime Playlists for Exercising

Recently, I’ve been subscribed to the Prime service, to get items in only two days. Like it usually does with technology, it took me about three months to figure it all out. I have been loving the streaming service but I got to recently checkout Amazon Music and really liked it. Of course, the first thing that I did, once I had this app open, was to immediately see what workout playlists they had and I was very pleased. The next time that you load up that boring playlist that you’ve heard a million times, think about throwing one of these on!

1st Playlist – Workout Energy Boost
If you are a pop fan, I highly suggest checking out this playlist. Those of us who are more partial to metal may have to look elsewhere. Let’s break down the top tracks on this playlist that I feel would be perfect for any workout. Overall, this mix is great for knocking out that thirty minute cardio session. I don’t think that it would be very motivating for weightlifting, more on that in a second!
Top Tracks: Want to Want Me – Jason Derulo, Anaconda – Nicki Minaj, Turn Down for What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon

2nd Playlist – Rock Out Your Workout
I’ve always been more partial to rock music, I’ll admit that. I still can love and appreciate a catchy pop song like anyone else. However, when I’m moving heavy objects, there is something about loud vocals, a good beat, and a distorted guitar that motivate me like nothing else. Our second playlist is certainly geared more to the rock crowd and they’ve included some classics on here. A good mixture of sounds from the past and present, I would consider this playlist to be one I would regularly throw on.
Top Tracks: Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine, War Pigs – Black Sabbath, Down with the Sickness – Disturbed, The Red – Chevelle

3rd Playlist – Heavy Lifting
This is where you’re in that zone, that you have to crank the sound up. Featuring some of the best heavy metal tracks of the last twenty years, this playlist should be listened to loudly! You’ll have 29 different songs to give you that extra push to carry on and finish that last set. If you feel that the other playlists on this list aren’t strong enough for you, welcome to your new favorite playlist. There is a great mixture of different bands here, allowing you rock out while enjoying some great variety.

Top Tracks: Hail to the King – Avenged Sevenfold, Animal I Have Become – Three Days Grace, Sail – DevilDriver

There are three playlists, all from Amazon Music, to get you started working out with their music selection. If you have Amazon Prime, you have this service, you just might not know about it. Best of all, if you are a prime member, this service is added on to your subscription, at no extra charge. Check out the app, while they don’t have the largest music selection (yet), there is still plenty to love about Amazon Music. There are new playlists being added to this service every week, seriously, so if you don’t find anything on this list that you like, give it time! Be sure to leave a like or comment about this story on our social media page. If I know that all of my readers dug this, I will be more likely to throw up another one on other workout playlists, featuring genres I haven’t covered yet.

Has Streaming Tossed Fitness DVDs to the Curb?

While the writing has been on the wall for some time now, it appears that we are finally starting to see the end of the workout DVD. Like we’ve so often seen with music, in the past decade, the way of physical media is quickly being tossed out, in favor of streaming. From my perspective, I get why the change to streaming has been one that has been met with so many sets of open arms. Where I would used to have to spend a couple of hours making a mix CD, that wasted time is gone, thanks to the simplicity of pulling up a playlist on an app. I still have a couple of old CD Walkman devices, I just don’t know if I could handle the ridicule if I were to go wear one to lift with. Do you remember the awful skipping that would happen, if you even sneezed the wrong way, regarding those old Walkmans?

When you consider the way that most of us exercise, in the modern times, the streaming technology does make more sense to include. I remember hearing that new workout equipment has now started to integrate it’s own streaming service, as an add-on feature, enabling you to step foot in a training class, from the privacy of your living room. With even such inventions as scoreboards for you to track how you are doing, regarding keeping pace with the rest of the virtual class, streaming provides too many new features to give up so fast. Statistics are showing that, indeed, the streaming technology is slowly starting to kick those old DVD’s to the curb. I know, with my music, I’ve loved the streaming services that I have used so much, I would never go back to the old school way of playing the songs I wanted to hear.

With the convenience of being able to pull any song that I could think of, out of some giant imaginary cloud, as opposed to being forced to have the entire album is another huge advantage. Therefore, I see why thousands of people like the ability to pick and choose which workouts they want to do, based on how they feel on a given day. Not having to be tied down to the same DVD that you’ve watched everyday can give a whole new outlook on how you train. I know that I have had times where I merely wanted to test the easy steps of a workout, before I decided to give my whole week to it, that’s why I enjoy the streaming workout services so much. If you, too, are sick of the same old scratched up fitness DVD that is on it’s last leg, check out some of the awesome fitness streaming services available now.

luxury tr

It is tough to really pinpoint what has caused such a quickened pace for those who are standing by their favorite streaming service. I still have a few old school DVD’s that I do feel provide me with enough lifting information to keep. Plus, I kind of have a slight hoarding problem (says my wife), so I won’t be throwing all of my old workout tapes in the trash anytime soon. As we are only now just starting to see how streaming technology can integrate itself into our gym time, I can’t wait to see where the technologies go from here!

Tragic Weightlifting Accident in Des Moines

First, let me say that my heart and prayers go out to the friends and families affected by this death, I am truly and deeply sorry for your loss. A man has sadly died in a tragic weightlifting accident that occurred in Des Moines, Iowa. From what I have heard, the fatal incident happened when he was bench pressing, one of the more dangerous moves that you can perform. As I heard about the death in Des Moines, it reminded me just how important it is to know your own limits. I’ve had two particular close calls with weightlifting injuries and one of those involved the bench press. No matter how strong you think that you are, it is always advisable to have someone with you.

The spotter that you take with you to the gym doesn’t have to hover over you the whole time, you can even just have that person close by. It is rare that accidents like this happen, but when they do it is heartbreaking. It makes news like this even harder to hear, when you learn about all of the accolades and general good words that he had attained for himself throughout his life. Do not think that it is embarrassing or it means that you are weak because you use a spotter, quite the contrary as it is a smart caution to make sure you take care of. I’ve seen it to be accepted as the general attitude that a spotter means you aren’t tough, which couldn’t be more untrue. If you are a loner, just ask someone to help you, most likely they will. If you are determined to complete your big lift and no one will help you, call it a day early. It’s better to play it safe than to risk everything to finish one more set, it’s just not worth it.

Also, if no one that you asks wants to help you while working out, I would consider going to a gym where people are nicer! Many are leaving heartfelt comments on this man’s social media pages and you can really see the love that he had in his life. I’m not very good at tributes, as I did not know this man personally, but from what I’ve seen, he lived a life that many would have envied. Being a star athlete and an all-around good guy, this only makes this tragedy that much more sad. Also, if it is possible, try to always use weightlifting equipment that allows you to rack the weight, should you run into a bad situation.

Bring A Friend, Safety First!

I used to not pay attention to which machines had auto racking capabilities, never thinking about them until I grew older. Now, I couldn’t imagine my workout without those machines, as they have definitely come in handy more than once. I can think back on a time where I had a muscle cramp, midway through my bench, and if that machine hadn’t caught the weight, I could have been in a very bad situation. I hope that we see all of the great technology available in the world to come up with something for weightlifting equipment so tragedies like this never have to happen again. I’m not sure that there even is a way to make this kind of technology something that could be applied feasibly but I am optimistic.

Let’s Get Serious About the Shake Weight

Go back about eight years ago, when there was a commercial released that was taking over the airwaves but not for the reasons that the company behind the product wanted it to be known for. I always keep things family friendly, so I’m not going to be too descriptive but go watch a commercial for it and let me know what you think it looks like. Anyways, let’s talk about what the actual shake weight was, what it claimed to do, and what ended up happening to this invention. First, the shake weight was a product that was made to make working out at home easy but you would still get intense results. Beyond the hype, the product itself looked like a lighter plastic dumbbell that, once started, would shake by itself. It was said that these constant shaking of your muscles could even be more effective than free weights. You remember, that way of training that has been around since the days of the gladiator, yeah we have to throw that out now for a plastic piece of you know what that moves by itself?

To make the commercial even better, there were studies, that I can’t attest to the validity of, that painted a picture that those old free weights needs to go in the trash, you have a Shake Weight now, you are in a whole new class of exercise. Ok, you have had plenty of the time to go see the commercial and did it not look a little odd? I’ll leave it at that, what the shake weight would do was to further allow for muscle growth to occur because of the different movement, that was a fitness revolution, when the commercial first aired. As it stands today, the Shake Weight is still widely available and actually has pretty good ratings, I have to admit that I will eat some crow on that one. I have never tried the Shake Weight, as I was too in fear that someone would ever see me actually using one, certainly not an exercise I could do while anyone else was around me. As you can probably picture, the ridicule that this product endured was seemingly endless. I do feel bad for the people that went ahead and green lit that commercial, or maybe there was more to it than what we think about? I mean, someone had to know that this commercial for the Shake Weight was going to have people dropping their remotes in shock or stopping everything to record it to show someone else.

The good about the Shake Weight is that, if you don’t really care how you look in public (and you shouldn’t) this equipment is great for definition, that is what I’ve read from reviews. On the flipside, there are a few that complained that it didn’t work as well as they wanted it to. Overall, I think that the Shake Weight must deserve it’s standing as a revolutionary way for those who are sick of the same old dumbbells. I could see this being a great gift idea for someone who is more focused on defining their muscles and toning up, over anyone that is wanting to build bodybuilder muscles. Maybe one day, I will take a chance on the Shake Weight and see what it can do for me.

Hidden Gems for Finding Gym Equipment

When it comes time to decide that you want to setup a workout room of your own, there will be some hurdles to face. I’ve had to build my own home setup and it definitely taken time and money. However, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to have a suitable setup for you to start using. As a matter of fact, if you know where to look, you can find some insanely good prices. If you aren’t familiar with them, apps like Craigslist and Letgo are great to make use of. The only slight drawback is that the equipment you will be purchasing and looking at will likely be used.

I don’t have a problem with used gym equipment, so long as it is functioning properly and is safe. Although it certainly isn’t the best method to use, I find that applying my body weight (do not use weights when doing this) to the machine for the first time will tell me all I need to know. Chances are, if the equipment can support whatever your body weight is, you likely have a sturdy machine. Variety is great to have, when it comes to finding what equipment you need to have, just be sure that the machines don’t all serve the same purpose. You don’t want to have a garage that is filled to the brim with gigantic pieces of equipment that only work one muscle group. If you can make your way to find a newspaper in your city, consider perusing the local classified ads, as there can be some great finds there. Usually, you will see more equipment being sold in the winter months, when people give up on staying trim. I recommend that you check around in both print and on the web year round, as there are always exceptions to colder months being the best for finding equipment. If you want new equipment, you do have more options, as far as purchasing is concerned.

finding new challenges

A good way to save a little extra to is get equipment that is multi purposed, or to put it more plainly, can work out different muscle groups from the same machine. Commonly, there are many machines available that can transform themselves into being able to carry out hundreds of exercises. I have an old Gold’s Gym bench that was not just a sturdy bench that has been put through its paces, I also got a weight rack and a place to be able to do some other lifts. You don’t have to start out with a room that is fully loaded with top end equipment. Starting out with just one or two pieces of equipment is more than enough to get started on your own home gym. Whenever I want to get another piece of gym equipment but my brain tells me that it isn’t feasible, this is where you can make things interesting. When I realize that I do need to wait before getting another machine, I set a goal for myself and once I reach it, I can get the new equipment. Don’t be afraid to take enough time to find the right deals, it will take patience but I can assure you that they are out there. As long as you don’t become addicted to getting new machines for your home gym, at least not mega addicted, you should experience nothing but joy in your new quest.