Category Archives: do this

Bad Form: When Weightlifting Becomes Dangerous

I was recently looking around the gym where I saw many instances of bad form. Having bad form doesn’t just mean some guy writes about you in a random article. Not practicing the right form can lead to some very bad situations you don’t want to find yourself in. The lucky weightlifters who practice bad form learn from it and change their ways. The unlucky ones probably will never lift weights again.

The bench press is definitely something you need to prepare for. There are so many things that can go wrong while bench pressing that you have to take proper precautions. I recommend that you have both ends of your barbell secured. Changing weight amounts on one side can lead to the other being too weighed down. Before you know it, all of the weights slide to one side and you have to deal with a mess. You must remember that weighted objects move fast. You don’t want to have a weighted barbell going at light speed towards your face, ouch.

You definitely want to take proper safety precautions while doing squats. Preparing for a squat means getting under a bar, not the safest place to be standing. What I recommend is that you always work with a squatting weight you can handle. The time for maxing out is either when you have a power rack or a few spotters (depending on how much squat). Read infographic about squats, reread it, and then print it out. That’s how serious I am about doing squats the right way.

I wanted to give a shout out to the awesome people at Stack. The cool infographic seen above can be found at: I highly recommend that you check out this website, as it has a ton of information. I’m so glad that infographic like the one above are made to help out people. I’ve been one of those weightlifters that miraculously has never gotten hurt. I urge everyone to be extra safe while in the gym. If you see someone lifting incorrectly, let them know in a nice way. You can tell someone there are lifting incorrectly without coming off as a total jerk.

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.

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.

Exercises to Improve Your Swimming Ability

In what has been known for years to be, arguably, the best exercise for you, swimming is still as popular now than it has ever been. With star athletes like Michael Phelps, we have now seen a completely new facelift on the public opinion of this sport. With more new fans each passing week, it seems like everyone wants to try their hand at swimming, not to compete but to look better. After all, if you have seen any images of Michael Phelps, you know that he is in outstanding shape. To better get you prepared to head out into the water of your local lap pool, I now present three awesome exercises that you should be doing, in order to become a better swimmer. Along with my exercise picks, I will also give you more information, as to why these exercises are so well suited to an aspiring swimmer.

I talk constantly about the benefits of doing squats but nowhere is this exercise better for you than when you are swimming. Squats are primarily done to achieve better leg strength. Having stronger legs not only looks good, it can also help you become better at many different sports, swimming being one of them. Why heavy squats are so great for swimmers is that it enables them to push off of the pool walls harder than normal. Think about this, is someone with massively strong legs going to push off faster than someone who never trains them? You won’t need to be a sports nutrition scientist to realize that stronger legs will push you farther.

Next, we know that no swimmer is going to make it very far without a strong core. For those that don’t know the core muscles are ones that right in the middle of your body, mainly having to do with the ab muscles. You won’t need to worry about having a perfect six pack to do crunches, you will still notice that you will have a stronger core, even if you don’t have rock hard abs. Don’t expect to get shredded by doing crunches alone, in this situation, we are utilizing our ab muscles so that we will be able to effectively swim longer distances. If you have ever pulled a stomach muscle, you know how painful it can be and we don’t want that. Last of all, you certainly don’t want to be in the water, while having cramping muscles!

Finally, if you have known a swimmer, you know that they are notorious for developing shoulder problems. Even the best swimmers around that don’t train their shoulders can still fall victim to nasty shoulder injuries, sometimes ending their hopes of professionally swimming. The military press is, quite possibly, the number one exercise for your shoulders. Yes, there are a vast amount of different shoulder lifts that you could do to strengthen those muscles but the military press is the best way to do it, in my humble opinion. Having a stronger set of shoulders reduces the risk of injury that is commonly associated with swimmers, due to how much use their shoulders get out on the water. Will these exercises ever give you that speed that Michael Phelps is known for? Likely, no, as his great performance as a swimmer is attributed to years of constant practice and conditioning. However, you should be able to notice that your lap times do quicken and you will gain some newfound strength.

Choosing Good Footwear for Weight Training

When it comes down to it, the kinds of shoes that you can put on can range widely. I only worry about two criteria when it comes down to choosing a good shoe and those are comfort and safety. I’m not concerned with the latest fashions or colors. Honestly, I could care less how it looks to others, as long as I am able to complete my sets correctly. It shouldn’t need to be stated but do not ever attempt to lift weights barefooted. Not only is it just plan gross but lifting weights without shoes on gives your feet no protection. If you didn’t know, your feet contain many small groups of bones, those of which can easily be shattered. If you are in a dire situation where you have no shoes, please wait and come back to lift weights at a time where you do have the proper footwear.

Most workout centers that I go to wouldn’t even let someone in the door without shoes. If you are lifting weights in the privacy of your own home, it is still suitable that you do have some form of footwear on. As we look closer at the kind of shoe you will want to go with, I recommend going with an athletic type of shoe. I can understand where the previous sentence doesn’t make things crystal clear so why don’t we begin to rule out more shoes that you do not want to take to the gym with you. All of my fellow boot wears might not like to hear this but no, you need to leave your boots at home.

I don’t have anything against wearing a pair of boots, it’s actually what I will usually choose to wear when I go out in public. However, boots will most likely have an elevated lift at the bottom of sole, which will make it hard to maintain your balance. Boots are great for making you appear taller, which is good for a boost of self-confidence but it is ironic that this very same sense of confidence will be broken, once you start feeling your legs topple over. Another reason that I would have to say no to wearing boots to workout in is because they will usually fit over the lower part of your legs.

Having footwear that locks a good portion of your legs isn’t great for when you need to quickly move around, like when you are setting down a barbell. Those who prefer to do things from a more classic perspective will want to get their feet into a nice pair of Converse All Stars. I love the sneaker type of shoe and I like the way that the All Stars keep my feet low to the ground and in perfect balance. I want to be as cozy as possible when I am working my hardest so I will often take a nice pair of athletic shoes that have some cushion in them. By using a shoe that still has a soft build to it, I am able to stay low to the ground without having to sacrifice my own personal comfort. Don’t be concerned with name brands either, they are likely some cheaper footwear options that work just fine. Personally, I would be just as satisfied with a low cost pair of tennis shoes than I would from some top of the line shoes, it makes it much easier for me.

Is Yoga for Metal Heads Any Fun?

We try to do a decent job of letting you know about all the cool and innovative fitness classes out there. Whenever I heavy metalmention yoga, I know that many of the male readers probably skim on to pass up on it. Men, listen up, I think that our prayers have been answered, as there seems to be a yoga class for us. Being relatively new, there is a yoga class that is shunning the age old clichés of calming instrumentals and nature sounds for leather chaps and spike bracelets! In all seriousness, metal yoga may have a smaller following than the relaxing classes we all know and love, but that’s ok. Metal heads have always been a fringe group, when compared to their top 40 counterparts.

If you were to bring this up to any metal fan, it’s likely they already know and that is one reason that keeps that community together, the mutual bonds between those people. I know that when the time is approaching for me to start weight lifting, I’ve got to have tunes that rock, no easy listening allowed. When doing yoga, there is not unwritten law that says that the music has to be what you would hear in an elevator. Seeming like an oxymoronic style clash, it’s still possible to find true peace, while a Juda Priest solo is blaring in your ears.

The change of scenery, when thinking of what you usually picture in a yoga room, can be jarring to some but don’t worry, no one will kick you out for not wearing all black. The class that I had signed up for brought me into a dimly lit room, with a minimal setup. I’m not casting my yoga in a negative light, I enjoyed the minimalistic look, as it adhered well with the overall vibe of the class.

Having taken someone with me, I wanted to have a compadre there with me, to witness this new and more intense style of yoga. I don’t want to give too much away, as I hate taking away surprises from others, just be prepared to be enlightened, should you choose to go. At first, the loud waves of heavy metal had me wanting to stand up and proudly proclaim that this was not going to be for me. After following the instructor, who I’m fairly sure was just a guy who rented out the room, I did start to let my mind wander down its own path. Shockingly, within about five minutes I did start to feel more peaceful.

Should you feel that the music in your metal yoga class is too loud, you’ll want to move to the back of the room, if you can. Ears are amazing instruments that most of us were born with, they are also highly sensitive. I used to drive around main street with music blaring, thinking that I was cool, now I have to ask people to repeat themselves because I semi-damaged my hearing. Saying that this class was only being in a room of people, all listening to loud metal would be doing this class an injustice. I was able to actually learn some new yoga poses that I hadn’t done before, while slowly mastering the standard ones. Lasting about an hour long, I felt amazingly relaxed after walking out of the class door. It was almost as if the anger was starting to slowly subside, throughout the duration of the class I was in.

Always Wrap Your Wrists Before Straining Them

I wanted to point one aspect of fitness accessories that I’m not seeing many make use of. Sure, we all have to get our awesome tank top, shorts, and whatever else we are going to wear to the gym. Being so obsessed with appearances, of which I am just as guilty as the next person, one important piece of safety equipment always goes missing. I used to think that wrapping up wrists was for those big fight scenes in movies, never something I would find that I needed to use. I started having some nagging wrist pain that was starting to honestly hinder my quality of life. There is nothing that comes close to making you feel like a weakling, than having a sharp pain shoot up your wrist, while trying to just push on a door. I had spoken to a co-worker of mine, an avid weightlifter. He had said that I could have either pulled a muscle or had come down with a case of tennis elbow.

I started seeing what others had to say on this matter and if they had experienced any similarities with the pain I had. It didn’t take long before I got responses suggesting that I could have weakened wrists. I had thought those folks were crazy, I had been lifting all of the time, how could I have a weakened anything? Checking the ego and starting to think a bit more clearly, I realized that some random guy on the internet could have just figured out this puzzle. I went to a sporting goods store and purchased some high quality wrist wraps. Not content to settle with the cheapest option, I plunked down about thirty bucks for a pair of these wrist wraps, money well spent. After about a week of using these wraps, almost all of the pain I had went away, that’s not a joke.

I went from barely being able to push myself up to going back to having wrists that had no pain in them at all. When I first noticed this pain start coming on was during only two lifts: the bench press and bicep curls, such an interesting and in no way related pairing! With two far apart exercises, for the muscles that are trained, as well as the pushing and pulling movement difference, this was why I was so mystified as to what could be the source of this horrible pain. I got some mild laughter when I would keep having to adjust my wrist straps but it didn’t matter to me, I would gladly have a workout go over ten minutes than to have to not be able to push anything for weeks. I have noticed that there are assortments of various straps that you can use.

I like the mobility that comes with simple straps but there are other options. If you can’t keep that strong grip when you are trying to move that bar, I would advise you use straps that are forced to tie onto the barbell itself, with this type of strap I prefer the ones that are cloth, than the cloth and metal hook contraption. Call me crazy but I don’t want any hook near me while I’m trying to lift weights, ouch! If you are less accident prone than I am and not a total clumsy guy, you could end up loving the strap with hooks, many do.

Get Your Legs Ready for Short Wearing Weather

Having a big upper half is highly sought after, so why are so many of you not concentrating on your legs? For one, they are the two body parts you have that are going to support the extra weight you pack on up top. I almost wanted to cry, this Summer, when I noticed that my calves and thighs were sorely lacking. I have been busy with trying to handle everything in my life but I knew that I had to give some special attention to my getting stronger legs. The first new lift that I had decided to implement into my routine was the hack squat. For those who haven’t tried them, get ready, the hack squat requires that you take the barbell BEHIND your legs.

I almost had to stop myself from tripping over my own feet the first time that I tried this exercise. I wasn’t sure what weight to use, since this was my original attempt at getting this routine over with. I must have started with too much weight because, upon my first upward movement, I nearly fell on my back. When you do most exercises, the weight is in front of you, making it easier for you to decide if you need to set it down, to avoid falling forward. With a hack squat, the weight is behind you, so if you fall, it’s going to be right on your back, ouch.

Am I the only one that gets that combination tingle of both fear and excitement, when trying a new exercise for the first time? I felt that my stomach was filled with butterflies as I approached my next lift, lying leg curls on a rickety bench, joy! My reward for trying to help my legs better support my frame was met with a t-bar smashing right into my Achilles’ tendon. After doing all I could to mask my pain-filled scream that sneaked out, the curls became much more simple. It’s hard to say if the soreness that I am currently feeling is from the weightlifting or the accidental scrapes I suffered from learning my form. I would go on to learn that, after smashing my leg into the t-bar, I had now put a bend in the bar, it must have been from my jumping reaction to the pain I felt in my heel.

Moving on to sitting leg curls, I did have to bend at a slightly awkward movement to complete the entire set, not causingstronger legs me too much additional pain. I might have to wear shin guards, as I continue to build up my legs in preparation for that wonderful summer vacation. What makes working out your legs different from most other parts of the body is that you only walk on your legs. Try not to think about how many steps you take, in an average day, after strengthening your legs, it will only make you queasy because you will feel that workout in the upcoming days. When it comes time to pick out the new attire, which you should do, in order to reward yourself for building massive legs, always try them on first. Us weightlifters are always growing, don’t be afraid to buy a larger size of attire, in order to grow into it. I rarely buy anything that is tight-fitting off of the rack because I know I will grow out of it, in a matter of weeks!

How Weightlifting Can Help you Cope with Stress

destressing is importantModern times have brought many conveniences into the way that we carry out our lives, however, things can move much faster now. I know that I had often heard, when I was younger, to treasure being young because adulthood would bring many new responsibilities into my life. I thought that being a grown up wouldn’t be so much different from the life that I was used to, I was wrong on that one. It is no surprise that we all we have to do, staying busy is the norm and living a worry free life is almost non-existent. Weightlifting is not something that many connect to being stress-free but, looking closer at this hobby, things aren’t always what they seem!

Early Anger Issues Led to My First Time Pumping Iron

I remember that I would be the guy known for having a short fuse. I have had a temper problem for as long as I can remember. In all seriousness, the temper problems I had became harder to control over time. My rage would get so mad that if I was set off, I could really be fuming in anger and not know what I would do next. At first, I began using a punching bag that was at a friends house. While I really enjoyed the feeling of being able to hit a bag, I needed more to do, I wanted to have a benefit. I was never a big fan of doing something and it not bringing me something practical by doing it, a reward of sorts. As I started to figure out a hobby, something clicked in my head and I knew I wanted to try weightlifting.

Not wanting to compete, instead I wanted to lift some weights for my personal gains. I didn’t care that I couldn’t use it as a sport, or sign up for any team. The friend didn’t want to lift with me so I started the process all on my own. I would dare to say that I learned more about myself and my personal limits in that first month, than I would have doing any other hobby. During this time, I was starting a new job and still taking some college level courses, leaving me with a heavy load of work on my back. Determined to keep committed to my weightlifting, I found that I wasn’t as stressed out as I thought I would be. Shockingly, the determination and adherence to a schedule that I had picked up from lifting weights regularly had transformed itself into other aspects of my world.

You could believe that this feeling I had was just timing. It seems easy to believe that I could have just turned into a grown up one day and never realized it but it gets weirder than that. You see, in periods of my life where my workload has been at its highest, I would have no choice but to ditch the weights for a month or two. During those dark times, my mood would be bad and my fuse would be shorter than it had been in a long time. It was common for me to just be in a very cranky mood, where lashing out behind closed doors wouldn’t be uncommon. I suppose that I have always had an element of a short temper and weightlifting has been and will always be the one thing I can count on to get me through a tough day. De-stressing by pumping some iron and having an outlet for the anger and rage that can happen in our lives is a great part of being alive!