The question: "I would so much rather take a yoga or Pilates class than lift weights—but will I get the health and strength-building benefits I need from those classes?"The experts: Polly Monson, personal trainer, fitness coach, and the owner of NYC's Central Sweat; Marta Montenegro, an exercise physiologist and certified strength and conditioning specialist; Mandy Ingber, celebrity yoga instructor, wellness expert, and author of Yogalosophy; Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York CityThe answer: It's important to keep in mind that yoga and Pilates mat classes can vary a lot. For example, a yoga class that focuses on relaxation and stretching probably doesn't have as many strength-building benefits as a more vigorous vinyasa sesh. That said, poses like warrior two and triangle can help strengthen leg muscles and lower bodies, while arm-balancing poses like side plank and crow can help strengthen arm muscles and upper bodies, says Ingber. And the Pilates … [Read more...] about Q&A: Do Yoga and Pilates Mat Classes Offer the Same Benefits as Weight Lifting?
Benefits of weight lifting
Try this little experiment: Do five biceps curls with a 20-pound barbell, then a pair of 10-pound dumbbells, then some 10-pound kettlebells. (Rest for a bit in between sets; we'll wait.)Notice anything different about how each weight feels, despite the fact that you're lifting the same poundage? Thought so. Wonder why? It essentially comes down to the stability of the "loading scheme," says Nick Rodocoy, a personal trainer in New York City. In other words, any weights you hold with two hands (barbells) are going to be easier to control than the weights you usually hold in a single hand (dumbbells, kettlebells). And weights that are balanced around the handle (barbells, dumbbells) are easier to control than weights that are unbalanced (kettlebells).MORE: 5 Exercises That Will Show You Lower Belly Who's BossKettlebells, with their unique shape, are designed for ballistic movements, which take the body through a more natural range of motion (and also torch calories), says Rodocoy. … [Read more...] about When You Should Use Each Kind of Weight While Strength Training
Summer presents a fitness paradox: you aspire to make your body look its best, but you want to invest the least possible gym time to get it that way. After all, what good are beach muscles if you never have the chance to show them off?The solution, of course, is efficiency—the ability to work your muscles only as much as they need, so you can achieve maximum results in minimal time. Turns out, it's as simple as knowing when to hit the weights a little harder and when to finish early. All you have to do is let your body guide you.It's important to know first that all of life's stressors, both physical and psychological, directly affect your performance in the gym—and they change from day to day. For instance, suppose you lift weights intensely on Monday after work, and then on Tuesday night you get only 5 hours of sleep, instead of your usual 7. Wednesday morning, your "check engine" light comes on as you pull in to work, and 5 minutes later your boss assigns you a … [Read more...] about Simplify Your Lifting Plan, Supersize Your Strength
I'm a sports-performance coach. For 20 years, I've been hanging around in gyms, coaching thousands of football, basketball, and track-and-field athletes on how to build muscle and lose weight. I show up before the gym rats and leave after they jump ship. And that means I've seen every mistake that is humanly possible to make. Stupid mistakes. Dangerous mistakes. And maybe worst of all, time-wasting mistakes.Time is always a crucial factor, whether a guy is trying to survive training-camp cuts or hustling back to the office before the boss puts him in for the next round of layoffs. Save a minute, add more muscle. It's a principle you can build on.Here are the most common mistakes I see in the gym. Let this be the last time I warn you.You Don't Use a Training LogBeginners take note: Training logs aren't just for the big fellas. In a 2002 study, YMCA researchers found that 70 percent of exercisers who set goals stuck with their programs for the entire year. By contrast, three-quarters of … [Read more...] about 8 Weight-Lifting Fixes for More Muscle
Should you be doing sun salutations more often? Yoga may protect you from heart disease just as much as jogging and cycling, according to a study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology. The researchers looked at over 30 studies on yoga and heart health. The science indicates that people who do yoga reduce their risk of heart disease just as much as people who do traditional forms of cardio, says Myriam Hunink, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author. Indeed, both forms of exercise are shown to significantly decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and resting heart rate. Meanwhile, the studies showed that people who don’t work out experience—perhaps not surprisingly—an elevated risk of ticker disease. “We think yoga is beneficial to your heart because it combines exercise and relaxation,” says Hunink. That mind-body relaxation element might also make yoga better at reducing stress and anxiety compared to other fitness … [Read more...] about The Cardio Benefits of Yoga
The amount of weight you should be lifting depends on the result you want—size, strength, or endurance. However, a good general benchmark is 90 percent of your 1-rep max. At that percentage, the participants in a Brazilian study achieved up to 98 percent activation of their targeted muscles. Unless you're a competitive lifter, there's no reason to go any heavier, says Bret Contreras, C.S.C.S., the author of Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy.Of course, you won't be able to handle that much weight for every exercise—it would be too fatiguing. Instead, shoot for a variety of loads and repetition ranges in each workout. Contreras recommends choosing one or two key (compound, multijoint) exercises, and performing them using a pyramid system (seen below): For your first set, do 8 repetitions using a weight you can lift no more than 10 times (about 75 percent of your max). For your second set, do 5 reps at 85 percent; then do 3 reps at 90 percent for your third. For your fourth … [Read more...] about Are You Lifting the Right Amount of Weight?
If there's a god of weight loss, he's probably laughing.For the past 40 years, virtually every weight-loss model has been based on the same principles, and virtually all of them have been wrong. The experts intoned, "Eat less, exercise more." They said that weight loss is all about "calories in, calories out." They informed us that a pound of fat contained roughly 3,500 calories, so if you simply deleted 500 calories from your daily meals or increased your daily exercise by 500 calories, or some combination thereof, you'd lose a pound of fat a week. And if you wanted to lose 2 pounds a week, you just had to double your savings to 1,000 calories a day.Which is exactly how an anorexic would approach the problem: Starve and strain until you get that perfect, fat-free body, regardless of the muscle you lose or the damage you inflict on your metabolism. And if Lara Flynn Boyle has the body you want, go right ahead and try it.For the benefit of the rest of you, I want to make two arguments, … [Read more...] about The New Science of Weight Loss
Much like our breakfast of choice or what we wear, most of us tend to gravitate to routine when it comes to our lifting workouts: We often use the same amount of weight, over and over. No shame—it’s particularly comforting to select a weight size you know you can handle when you’re at the gym, and when you’re sweating at home, you may not have a variety of weights to work with. But experts say not changing your weight size means you’ll be missing out on some pretty hefty benefits. “When you train with the same weight week to week, over time, your body will adapt to the resistance, and you won’t see gains in muscular strength or hypertrophy [size],” says Jacque Crockford, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise. Compare it to running the same distance every time you hop on the treadmill—at some point, you’re not going to see your body improve, since … [Read more...] about What Happens To Your Body When You Always Lift the Same Amount Of Weight
The American Heart Association (AHA) yesterday updated a scientific statement on the benefits of weight lifting, or resistance training, for people with heart disease to help doctors assess and instruct patients in its safe use.Circulation. Exercise in a rhythmical manner, using a slow to moderate speed that is controlled. Exhale on the effort, inhale on the return (eg when doing a shoulder press, exhale when you exert effort to push the weight up, inhale when you relax and bring it down). Avoid holding their breath and ensure a full range of motion. Alternate between upper and lower body workouts. Choose weights and the appropriate number of repetitions per set according to their health status, frailty and age. Limit the workout to a single set, 2 days a week. Involve the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body: chest press, shoulder press, triceps extension, bicep curl, lat pull-down, lower-back extension, abdominal crunch/curl, quad extension, leg press, leg curl, and … [Read more...] about Weight Lifting For Health And Heart
Many people visit the chiropractor only after they’ve tried everything else—even pharmaceutical drugs and surgery. Chiropractic adjustments are non-invasive and completely natural. The practice of chiropractic dates back to 2700 B.C. Today, chiropractic adjustments are still very relevant to our health. The spine is a column of vertebrae that protect the spinal cord and the many different segments of nerves in there. Perhaps you know the common benefits of chiropractic adjustments—decreased back and neck pain, proper alignment and posture—but what are some of the more surprising benefits of getting chiropractic adjustments? Better Range of Motion While some people are hypermobile (really flexible), others struggle with getting the full range of motion that comes with your body due to injury or just everyday use. When your spine is properly aligned, you experience an increase in your range of motion. Proper range of motion will benefit you in ways … [Read more...] about The Surprising Benefits of Getting Chiropractic Adjustments