Lower Body At-Home Workout

lower body at home workout

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Upper Body At-Home Workout

Upper body at home workout

All you need for this is a set of dumbbells and something like a bench or coffee table for the bench dips. For a 4 times a week workout plan, do this workout twice a week along with a lower body workout twice a week.

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Plyometrics 101

plyometrics 101

What are plyometrics? Why should you do them? How often should you do them?

What:

Plyometrics is a fancy term for “jump training.” It consists of explosive movements such as box jumps, tuck jumps, long jumps, jump squats, Mary Katherine’s (jump lunges), and heismen. Since it primarily consists of jumping movements, there’s a common misconception that it can be bad on your joints. It’s only hurtful to your knees if you do it improperly. Proper form for any movement consists of landing lightly and not on the heels of your feet.

How: 

Here’s the science behind plyometrics. Exercises like box jumps and jump squats engage the myotatic reflex which stimulates neurons called stretch sensory receptors. When doing plyometrics, you are trying to create the most amount of energy in the lest amount of time possible.

There are three phases in a plyometric muscle contraction. First is the eccentric phase, where the muscle lengthens and gets ready. Second is the amortization phase, where the muscle pauses and rests. Lastly is the concentric phase, where the muscle releases and finishes the movement.

When: 

If you are working out to lose weight or tone up, add in plyometrics at the end of your 3 time a week workout. Just one round will be enough to shape up your muscles. If you’re a more serious gym-goer, add in plyometrics after your leg day or on a day by itself with some ab work. 3-4 rounds is plenty. Click here for a good plyometric workout that you can modify for whatever level you’re at.

Why:

Plyometrics are a very valuable tool for whatever level you’re at in your fitness journey. By adding in jump training, you are training muscles you aren’t used to training at a pretty intense rate. Plyometrics create a fuller muscle look (compare a sprinter’s body to a marathon runner’s body) and also help train your body to be faster, jump higher, and respond quicker.

Whatever your goal is, you should add in plyometrics. It’s one of the most valuable and under-utilized types of workouts.

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Free Workout Log Printable

workout printable

Click here to download this printable.

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Plyometric Workout

Plyometric Workout

 

Deficit box jumps are simply jumping off the top of a box and landing in a squat position. For this move, use a box that is no taller than knee height. If you don’t have access to a box, stairs and weight benches also work.

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The Pros & Cons of Cardio

The pros and cons of cardio

Cardio: a fit person’s least favorite word.

Far too often you hear of gym rats saying things like “Oh I don’t do cardio!”, “Lifting weights faster is my cardio!”, or even “I don’t need cardio, I’m trying to bulk up!” These statements come from people that don’t know any better and haven’t been properly educated. Cardio is good for you; in fact, it is recommended by the American Heart Association to do moderate intensity cardio for at least 30 minutes a day, five days per week. Or you can up the intensity and do 25 minutes of vigorous activity three days per week.

There are two main types of cardio: High intensity interval training (HIIT) or low intensity steady state (LISS). They can be divided up further, but we these are the types that are most commonly used.

High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. The format of a HIIT session typically follows something like this: a brief warm up, about ten sets of low intensity work followed by quick high intensity work, and a cool down. For example, 5 minutes on a low incline and low speed on the treadmill, 40 seconds at a power-walking pace followed by 20 seconds at an all-out sprint (repeated ten times), then 5 minutes again at a low incline and low speed.

Pros of HIIT:

  • More entertaining then steady state cardio
  • Generally builds muscle at the same time (compare a sprinter’s body to a marathon runner’s)
  • Takes less time to burn the same amount of calories
  • Suggested to control blood sugar in type 2 diabetics better than steady state workouts
  • Improves your metabolism- after including one or two HIIT sessions per week, your metabolism will become more effective
  • Continue to burn calories even after your session ends

Cons of HIIT:

  • Easy to over-do
  • Taxing on the CNS (Central Nervous System)
  • Can be very dangerous is someone attempts it who is not ready, e.g. someone without a baseline of fitness high enough, someone not cleared for exercise, or someone using bad form

Low Intensity Steady State 

 LISS is one of the most popular forms of cardio. Generally, though, it should be reserved for someone who wants to improve their endurance, preferably someone training for a marathon, triathlon, etc. LISS is exactly what is sounds like: steady state cardio for long periods of time. It is extremely common for misinformed women (or men, but primarily women) to do hours of LISS in order to “tone up.” Sadly, this will only get them further from their goals.

Pros of LISS:

  • Some people simply enjoy running, biking, swimming, etc. for long periods of time
  • Can potentially be less damaging on your joints

Cons of LISS

  • Boring
  • Fat and calorie burn stops as soon as you end your session
  • Can lead to muscle atrophy if that is all your doing
  • Your body will adapt to how much you are working, therefore you will have to frequently increase the intensity in order to continue to see results
  • You need to workout for much longer in order to do the same amount of work as you would in a HIIT session

 

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Total Body At-Home Workout

Total body workout 11315

As long as you have some form of weights, you can do this workout at home. You don’t even need dumbbells, anything slightly heavy will work. Milk jugs work great, even with the kettlebell swings! The bench dips can be completed on the side of a table, bed, couch, coffee table, etc. Modify it by bringing your feet closer to your body or using a taller surface.

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5 Reasons Women Must Lift Weights

Sadly, it’s rather uncommon to see women in the weight room. At most gyms, the cardio room is more readily filled with females than the free weights or even the machine section. This is largely due to a lack of general knowledge on the benefits of lifting weights. Here are 5 reasons you should turn off that treadmill and head over to those dumbbells!

5 reasons women must lift weights

1.Osteoporosis.  

Osteoporosis is very common in aging women. Lower bone density is what causes this damaging disease. You know what prevents bone density loss? Weight lifting! Numerous studies have been done on this subject, and they all agree: progressively overloading (with weight training) the skeletal system causes it to become stronger, therefor preventing bone density loss. 

2. Weight lifting “tones” your muscles. 

Let me say this: I do not like the word “tone.” As a personal trainer, I hear it all too often. Women want to “tone up,” but they don’t want to lift weights in fear of it making them bulky. This could not be further from the truth. Following a resistance training program will make your muscles stronger and it will cause you to lose body fat (If your nutrition is in check!). This is how you become toned, not by sticking to the elliptical and lifting 2 lb dumbbells.

3. Metabolic benefits. 

Adding on even 1 lb of muscle mass causes you to burn more calories throughout the day, even if you’re asleep. This lean muscle mass makes your body adapt and learn to use calories more efficiently, which is what results in the higher caloric burn. Who doesn’t want to burn more calories and lose fat in their sleep?

4. Reduced stress. 

I can personally testify to this. Lifting weights is a great stress reliever. There is no better feeling than walking into a weight room full of guys, and moving around a ton of weight. This can be intimidating at first, but soon the guys will be shocked to see how strong you really are! I promise, nothing is more empowering.

5. You’ll be happier over all. 

This is no secret to this-exercise releases endorphin’s. Endorphin is the hormone that makes you happier and feel good. With lower stress, a happier self, and a stronger body, why WOULDN’T you lift weights? 

What’s stopping you?

You now have 5 reasons and zero excuses to begin a strength training program. So get to it, and reap the rewards!

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