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Resistance Band Exercises – 6 Quick exercises for when you’re on the go

Resistance Band Exercises Resistance bands exercises are surprising fitness tools. Resistance band exercises are great because they apply pressure to your muscles on both phases of the exercise. Resistance bands can also be used for isometric exercise, which if you have read the article about this; you will know how this can accelerate lean muscle growth.

Resistance band can be used for gentle exercise as used in rehabilitation due to injury, but can also be used to build muscle as you would in the gym, but without the cost or bulky equipment.
As with most exercises on this site, resistance band exercises and compound exercises, and therefore will improve your total fitness, give you more energy, less injuries, and burn calories.

If you continue using resistance bands, these will build lean muscle. We don’t recommend using fitness bands on their own; you still need to use free weights.

We recommend when using the resistance band that you must do the exercises in a slow and controlled manner. Take 4 seconds for both the contraction and extension of the muscle, as well as a 1 second pause between, unless otherwise noted.

Resistance Band Exercises 1: Squat

With your feet shoulder width apart, stand on the resistance band.
Hold the resistance band with both hands at shoulder level – the hands should remain in this position throughout the exercise.
Slowly get into a squat position, to a count of 4 down, hold for one and four count to return to the start position.

Resistance Band Exercises 2: Lunge

Stand with legs hip width apart, and then step your right leg back about 2 feet behind you.
Put the resistance band under the front foot, and the end with both hands.
Bend at the hip and left leg, keeping the torso upright, the abs tight, and the back straight. The lunch should continue slowly until the thigh is parallel to the floor.
Slowly return back to the start position.

Resistance Band Exercises 3: Outer Thigh Scissor

Lie on the floor with your legs straight and the resistance band under your feet. Swap handles so the left hand side of the band at your feet is in the right hand, and vice versa, so that the bands are cross over.
Open your legs outward as far as you can, hold and slowly return to the start position.

Resistance Band Exercises 4: Chest Press

With the band wrapped around a pillar of other suitably strong anchor point behind you, hold both handles of the band.
Starting with the elbows bent, hands in line with the chest and parallel to the ground press the arm out until straight, without locking them. You should feel pressure in your chest as you do so.
Slowly return your arms back to being bent and hands back in line with your chest.

Resistance Band Exercises 5: Bicep Curl

Stand on the resistance band with feed in a wide stance, holding the ends of the band.
Tuck in your abs, keep your back straight, and bend your knees slightly.
Bend your arm at the elbow, and slowly bring your palms up to your shoulders. Hold, then slowly return to the start position.

Resistance Band Exercises 6: Triceps Extension

Hold resistance band in one hand, place your hand behind your head. With the other hand, grab the resistance band and ensure that the forearm of your lower arm is parallel to the floor.
Straighten the arm behind the head slowly. Hold, and return to the start position.
Do a set of these, and then swap arms.

Medicine Ball Exercises – 8 exercises to give you superhero strength

Medicine Ball Exercises The medicine ball exercises are a great tool to use to build lean muscle, burn fat, and get a great intense workout all in one. A medicine ball exercises will mimic real life situations, but with the added bonus of extra force. The medicine ball can be used with a number of exercises, which are compound in nature, and therefore work toward total fitness, and help you build lean muscle and lose fat.

 
 

Medicine Ball Exercises 1: Russian Twist

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, holding a medicine ball in front of your chest, with your arms slightly bent.
Swing the medicine ball to the left hip, whilst keeping your abs tight and tucked in and your back straight.
Swing the medicine ball back out in front of your body, and repeat toward the right hip, again with the abs tight and tucked in and the back straight.


Medicine Ball Exercises 2: Kneeling Push Up

Use a partner or wall with this exercise.
From a kneeling position, with your torso in an upright position, hold the medicine ball close to your chest. Keeping your abs tight and back straight, fall forward, and push the ball away to your partner or the wall.
As soon as you have released the ball, drop your hands to the floor, and perform a push up.

Medicine Ball Exercises 3: Exploding Squat

Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, holding the medicine ball close to the chest.
Keep your abs tight and tucked in, and back straight, squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
Explode upwards from the hips, and at the same time press the medicine ball overhead. The overhead press should be due to the momentum created from the hips rather than the shoulders.
Return the ball back to the chest, as you lower into the squat position once more and repeat.

Medicine Ball Exercises 4: Ball Slam

Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart and hold the medicine ball with both hands, between both legs.
Lift the medicine ball above the head, and slam the ball down on the floor with as much force as you can.
Catch the ball when it bounced, and repeat.
Make sure that once you lift the ball above your head, you do not lean back, and keep your abs tights and back straight as you do so.

Medicine Ball Exercises 5: Crunch

Lie on the floor with your legs in front of you, and your arms above your head, holding he medicine ball.
Lift the ball off the ground, and at the same time one leg, and try to sit up as far as you can to reach forward to touch the medicine ball to your toes if you can.
The aim is to lift the torso to the toes in a similar way to a sit up.
Lower your torso back down to the start position in a controlled manner, and repeat.


Medicine Ball Exercises 6: Squat Slam Dunk

Stand 18 inches away, facing a wall, holding the medicine ball in front of your chest.
Keep the torso upright, the abs tight, and the back straight, and squat down so that your thighs are parallel with the floor – below if you can manage.
Explode out of the squat position, and slam the ball up in the air, again the wall.
Aim to hit a spot with the medicine ball that is approximately ten feet up the wall.
As the ball returns, catch it, and immediately repeat the exercise, by once again lowering into the squat position.

Medicine Ball Exercises 7: Abdominal Raises

Lie on your back on the floor with your hands by your sides and your palms facing downward.
Bend your knees upwards, and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold a medicine ball between your knees.
Holding the medicine ball raise your heels toward the sky – your butt should be just raising off the floor and your abs should be strongly contracted.
Slowly lower back into the start position with your feet flat on the floor and repeat.
Do not swing your legs to generate momentum, as this is cheating!

Medicine Ball Exercises 8: V-Ups

Lie flat on the floor, then bend one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. The other legs should be straight and on the floor.
Hold a medicine ball in your hands, close to your chest.
Raise your torso upwards as it doing a sit up and raise the medicine ball up to the ceiling, and at the same time raise the leg that is flat on the floor to the ceiling (forming a ‘V’ with your leg and torso)
As your leg comes up, you should try to touch toes with the medicine ball. Do this with the back straight, and the abs tight and tucked in.
Lower back your torso and legs back to the start position in a controlled manner.
To make the exercise more difficult, place the medicine ball just above the head in the start position whilst lying on the floor.
Ensure that whilst lifting the torso, that the medicine ball is above or forward of the line the torso makes, as this will extend the back and could cause injury.

Calories to Lose Weight – Find out how the experts work it out

Calories to Lose Weight First of all, let us set the record straight, this should not be ‘calories to lose weight’ but should instead be ‘calories to lose fat’.

It is important when you are trying to build lean muscle that you realise that building muscle and losing fat may result a no net gain or loss.
It is also important to realise that to lose fat, you need to have a deficit of calories on your intake (400 less than you need per day for an average person), compared to your expenditure, so this encourages your body to burn fat.

It is also important to note, that when building lean muscle, you have a higher requirement for calories (100 more per day for an average person).
These statements would appear to be at odds with one another, how might it be possible to consume fewer calories, even though you need more of them? The key to this is to consume the correct amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to ensure that the body still burns body fat, but you still get the full amount of energy that your body needs.


It is also important to understand when lowering your calorific intake, that your body will go into a ‘crisis mode’ when it thinks that you are starving, so you should not more than 10% of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) or you run the risk of your body converting the protein in you muscle to carbs to use as energy.
The way you can cause your body to burn fat is to eat the following amounts as a percentage of TDEE:

  • 50% energy from fats and carbohydrates;
  • 40% energy from protein;
  • 10% energy from stored body fat;

Note that it is the protein that is slightly less than expected, and results in the calorie deficit.
It is also interesting to note that of the total amount of energy that your body requires, only a very small amount is actually used to build muscle (possibly as low as 5%) Exercise however is a much bigger proportion (approximately 20%)

It is actually your brain that takes the lion’s share of the energy that your body needs, followed by necessary tasks performed by the body, such as breathing, maintaining temperature, pumping blood around the body, fighting infection.
There are exceptions to these guidelines for building muscle and losing fat at the same time, and they are:

  • Teens who cannot build muscle or put on fat no matter how much they eat
  • Bodybuilders that are at or close to their genetic limit, or have a low body fat percentage (under 8%)


For beginner and intermediate people, it is very possible to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, simply because there is still plenty of muscle that can be built, and plenty of fat that can be burnt, so the balancing act for the calories consumed is not so closely fought.
Further guidance on the types of food to consume – eat protein throughout the day, equally spaced out so that your body will not be forced to burn muscle (1g of protein per pound of body weight) Consume enough calories so that your body cannot put on fat, and also does not go into ‘crisis mode’. Eat unprocessed foods where possible – fresh vegetables, natural fats such as nuts, olives. Eat grain and low Glycaemic Index (GI) carbohydrates – no sugar, alcohol, white flour etc.

Isometric Contraction

Isometric Contraction Isometric Contraction: Isometric exercise, or isometric sis a particular type of exercise where muscle length and joint angle are not changed during the contraction of the muscle.  The exercise is performed in a static position, either again an immovable force (such as a wall) – called overcoming isometric, or an opposing force is applied which the muscle must overcome (such as holding a weight) – called yielding isometric.

Types of Isometric Contraction

Overcoming isometric exercise when doing a bench press could be demonstrated by pushing the weight bar up against the underneath of the safety support on a power lifting frame (an immovable force), and a yielding isometric would be performed by holding the bar at a given point even though it is able to be lifted higher.

Why is isometric contraction training so effective?

The point to this type of exercise is simple – the brain makes use of as few muscle fibres as it can do, to overcome whatever force it needs to.  When you are weight training, this is why it takes a number of repetitions to completely tire, as the muscle fibres are gradually tired out, and new ones are brought into play.  Failure is the point where there are no capable muscle fibres left.

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Isometric contraction in effect causes all muscle fibres to come into play immediately.  The reason that this occurs is because the brain gradually activates muscle fibres to apply a force and move an object.  If the object does not move, the brain applies more fibres to the task, until all are involved.  When all muscle fibres are involved there is a potential for the largest amount of muscle growth.

Isometric Contraction – An interesting study

During World War I, a large number of soldiers were being injured, so a study was commissioned to see how long a limb could be completely immobilised before that limb started to atrophy, and was rendered useless.  The study was simple – to take some frogs, and immobilise one leg completely using an immovable object, such as a splint.  The other leg was left to move freely.

The expected outcome of this test was that the immobile leg would become thinner and atrophy, but what happened instead was the complete opposite.  When released the frogs leg that was immobile was stronger than the free one, largely due to the fact that the leg was constantly straining against an immovable object is an isometric contraction, and all the fibres in the frogs leg were activated through this process.  Once release the frogs were unable to jump evenly due to the imbalance between the strength of the legs.

Isometric Contraction – Build muscles fast

Aside from testing frogs, it has been shown that isometric contraction, when used as part of a training routine have been shown to have increases of as much as 5% in one week, and in one test, the doctor reported increases of 300%.

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Isometric Contraction – Is that all I need to do?

Isometric contraction is an exercise that is not performed throughout the full range of motion of the limb, and therefore is not recommended to be used 100% of the time.  The benefits that are seen from performing full range of motion exercises, as well as stretching, eating a good diet will all explode your progress toward total fitness, and a much more healthier and stronger you.

Plyometric training

Plyometric Training: Explosive power and Athletic Ability

Plyometric Training To begin with, Plyometric Training is not something you should do until you are quite fit.  The reason for this is because of the high impact nature of the exercises, they are designed to push athletes bodies to the limits of physical ability, so make sure that you are at the right level before embarking upon such exercises.

Plyometric training will increase your quick, explosive power, useful for example if you’re a basketball or high-jumper and want to jump higher, or a martial artist, and want to punch and kick quicker.  If you’re none of those things, but have a good level of fitness, you can still benefit from plyometric training as a part of your workout routine.

 

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Plyometric Training: Warnings

Plyometric Training is dangerous if you are not aware of the risks.  Here are some statements for guidance:

  • - Plyometric Training should only be attempted by conditioned athletes;
  • - Your muscles should already be strong before performing Plyometric training on them;
  • - Warm up before beginning plyometric training – gradually increase the exercises difficulty so that you’re fully warm before you attempt the full exercises;
  • - Ensure that your footwear has good cushioning;
  • - Execute plyometric training only on cushioned or soft surfaces
  • - Be aware of, and give focus to any injury hazards;
  • - Ensure to have sufficient rest periods between plyometric exercises

If you pass the entrance requirements, then we will go on, if you don’t, you should look at some of the other exercises on the site to build yourself up to this level.

Plyometric Training 1: Medicine Ball Drop

A training partner will drop the medicine ball toward the chest, where you will catch it, and immediately and explosively fire the ball back.

This works because catching the ball pre-stretches the muscle and allows the powerfully explosive return of the ball.

Plyometric Training 2: Bounding

This plyometric training exercise is running with oversized strides, spending extra time in the air.

One leg bounding is performed to increase intensity of this exercise.

Plyometric Training 3: Push Up Clap

This plyometric training exercise is performed as a push up, where the push up is performed explosively, and at the top of the ‘jump’ the hands are clapped together.  The hands are then quickly returned to the push up position, and the exercise starts again.

Plyometric Training 4: Switch Lunge

Lunge forward on one leg, so that the thigh is parallel with the floor, swinging your arms to assist with balance and movement, jump up and switch legs, landing in a lunge on the other leg. Repeat.

 

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Plyometric Training 5: Walking Lunges

Using a barbell on the shoulders, holding the bar, and take a large step forward.

Lower your hips so that your knees form ninety degree angles, whilst maintaining and upright torso and tight abs tucked in.

Return to the start position by bringing your back leg forward and standing up in preparation for the next lunge.

Plyometric Training 6: Hamstring Curl

Lie on your back with your calf muscles on a Swiss ball.  Raise your hips until your body is straight and aligned should to foot.

Raise your leg until the sole in pointing to he ceiling.  Press the heel of your other foot that is on the ball and roll it toward your butt.  Hold the position, and then slowly roll back again.  Repeat this exercise for a number of repetitions before swapping to the other foot and repeating.

Lean Body Mass

Lean Body Mass – Learn the secrets

Lean Body Mass Lean Body Mass is the mass of the body without fat.  Lean body mass is a measurement of the body including the bones, organs and muscles.

Whilst this would seem to be your target mass, it is not healthy to be chasing such an ideal, because it isn’t ideal.  Your body needs fat to function.

The ideal range is about 12% to get the lean, ripped look to your muscles.  The minimums for women should be 10% and for men 2%.

Lean Body Mass Calculation

First Calculate Body Fat Percentage

Body Mass Index (BMI) = (your weight ×703) ÷ (your height × your height),

Where weight is in pounds, height is in inches.

 

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Body Fat Percentage For males:

Body Fat Percentage = (1.20 * BMI) + (0.23 * Age) – 16.2

Body Fat Percentage For females:

Body Fat Percentage = (1.20 * BMI) + (0.23 * Age) – 5.4

Multiply your body weight by your body fat percentage to calculate the weight of body fat that you have.  Subtract this number from your weight, and the result will be your Lean Body Mass.

Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Basic metabolic rate is the number of calories that you would burn to stay at your current weight.

BMR = body weight * 10 + body weight.

So, if for example you weighed 210 pounds, the calculation would be:

210 * 10 + 210 = 2310.

So a 210 pound person would have to consume 2310 calories to stay at 210 pounds.

Lean Body – Diet

Assuming you want a lean body, and that is why you came to this page, you need to consume less than the number of calories to lose body fat.  Note that if you are under the calorific burn rate you calculated by a small amount, that your body will burn body fat to make the calorie value up to 100%.  Note that to build muscle you need 100 calories per day more than the calculation above.

Notice that if you are burning more calories than this number, you are going to lose fat, if you cut out too many calories, your body will get into a catabolic state and will use muscle for fuel, which isn’t what you want.

You should consume foods rich in fiber as these prevent the body from absorbing too much fat, and also involves slower burning carbohydrates and lowering of cholesterol.

Your body also needs plenty of protein to build muscle, you should get this from natural sources in preference to processed and powdered supplements, as these often have a tendency to include unnecessary sugars and carbs.

 

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One often overlooked item on a diet is water – your muscles need it to repair – drink plenty of water to minimize aching the day following an intense workout.  Whilst you are working out, you should be consuming enough water to keep yourself hydrated – remember that whilst training you are sweating, and this means you need to drink more water than you think.

Catabolic State – How to avoid it when exercising

When you are exercising, it is quite easy to get into a catabolic state, where your body will use muscle for fuel.

There are a number of ways to avoid this situation; the first is to do intense workouts of no more than one hour.

The second is food – consume enough calories before, during and after working out to ensure that your body has the power to continue.  Breakfasts are important for this reason, they stop you getting into a catabolic state.  You should aim to have 5-6 meals in a day, and consume the amount of calories required to obtain the desired effect.  Use the calculations above as a good guide.

Lean Body – Muscle

First of all, as we mention in nearly every article, 95% of your workouts should be compound exercises, involving multiple muscles, and multiple joints.  This burns more energy, builds muscles in the right places to be useful in day to day activities, and because of these things builds the muscle lean.

Something else that can be useful is to do supersets – this means for example, doing squats, followed immediately by Bench Press, without a break in between, then break afterwards.  This is highly effective in both building muscle and intensifying the amount of energy consumed by the body.

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