Muay Thai, the “Art of Eight Limbs,” is one of the deadliest forms of martial arts. It’s called the Art of Eight Limbs because it incorporates striking with hands, elbows, knees and shins to knock your opponent out or strike them into submission. Boxing, for instance, uses two points of contact (both hands) and many other forms of martial arts use only hands and feet.
Muay Thai was developed in Southeast Asia, but it has spread across the world with the popularity of mixed martial arts on television. Muay Thai is the stand up base for MMA fighting. It was once called the martial art of the kings because of the fact that in 1914 the sons of King Sen Muajng Ma fought until their death for the throne of their father.
Muay Thai has a heavy focus on body conditioning, designed to promote a high level of fitness necessary for endurance in the ring. In fact, the most important aspect in training in Muay Thai is extensive endurance. Cardio, strength, muscle gain and definition, plus fat loss are crucial to a fighter’s survival. Training regimens include running, shadowboxing, jump rope, medicine ball, weight training, and exercises to strengthen different areas of the body, including abdominals.
Bicycles were first introduced in the 19th century and have been used as a mode of transportation ever since. Cycling has been a popular sport for several years now and seems to be getting ever more popular every day.
There are all sorts of cycling, ranging from competitive cycling, to mountain biking and spinning (fitness class). Each type or style of cycling requires a different style of bicycle; so make sure you purchase the correct bike.
Cycling requires a great deal of lower- and upper-body strength and endurance. The quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves are the primary lower body muscle groups used to power the bicycle. The chest, back, triceps, and core are the major upper body muscle groups used to maintain bicycle control and proper posture.
Pilates has become increasingly popular in the fitness world with both men and women. Pilates is a fitness system developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. It focuses on core postural muscles, as well as proper breathing and correct spinal alignment.
The most common machine used for Pilates is the “reformer,” which was designed to provide finely tuned resistance exercises for the body as a whole. It focuses on proper alignment, core stability, and total body flexibility.
Pilates is great before, during and after pregnancy. It is beneficial during the pregnancy process due to the isolation of the core. (more…)
Fitness, or cardio, boxing is derived from the sport of boxing and implemented into an individual or group exercise program. Cardio kickboxing has become a very popular group fitness class and can be found in just about any health or fitness club today.
Cardio kickboxing incorporates total body cardiovascular training with sport-specific techniques with or without equipment. An hour of cardio kickboxing can burn, on average, around 1,000 calories. Be sure to contact your physician before participating in a cardio kickboxing class, especially if you have limitations or high risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, family history of heart disease, age, and certain body weight.
Medicine balls have been around forever and are among one of the oldest forms of strength and endurance training. In ancient Greece, medicine balls were made from animal skins sewn together and stuffed with sand. They were used for rehabilitation and injury prevention. Today, medicine balls are usually round and made of rubber or leather, but they do come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and materials.
Medicine balls generally range from two to 25 pounds, and are typically used for standard plyometric weight training, which is characterized by fast powerful movements and muscle contractions to increase speed, power, strength, and flexibility.
Medicine balls are very durable and can be used just about anywhere. Athletes commonly use them for explosive training (quick and powerful movements) by throwing them to the ground or off a sturdy wall. The medicine ball is also a great way to modify and add enjoyment to any weight training exercise or workout. (more…)
Swimming is one of the best non-weight bearing activities out there and I totally recommend implementing a swim routine into your workout. It’s a great way to burn an enormous amount of calories all while having a blast in the water. Non-weight bearing refers to no weight or pressure being forced onto the joints, thus great for those with injuries, arthritis, or pain.
Although indoor pools are somewhat hard to come by, they are definitely worth the small cost to use. You may find indoor pools at your local health or fitness club, university, YMCA, or hotel. Before starting your swimming workouts, here are a few things you should know: (more…)
The kettlebell is a cast iron weight used as a popular exercise tool in today’s fitness world. They are typically found in CrossFit gyms and athletic training facilities, but are becoming ever more popular at private training studios and health clubs.
Kettlebell exercises are intended to increase total body muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, balance and stability, and agility. They are used as a functional, total body exercise to condition the body as a whole. Each precise kettlebell exercise or movement is designed to engage multiple muscles at one time. (more…)
So everybody in your life, including your pregnant friend, 65-year-old mom and teen-aged niece, are all doing yoga. After listening to them extol the benefits that this ancient Indian practice has had on their stressed out minds and seeing the proof in their new lean yoga bodies, it is time that you discover firsthand what the yoga buzz is all about.
But before you lift off into a headstand in the middle of your kitchen, read our Beginner’s Guide to Yoga so that you’ll be in the know-how as you roll out your mat and join the millions of Americans practicing yoga. (more…)
Cardiovascular training can get monotonous from time to time; that’s why it doesn’t hurt to modify or change up your cardio routine every once in a while. Spinning is a great way to do so. Spinning is among one of the most popular group fitness classes out there today. Spinning consists of upbeat music, a motivating instructor, and a hard core calorie burning workout.
The stationary bikes offer a great cardiovascular workout all while improving your lower body muscular strength and endurance. Every class is a little different, depending on the instructor, but mainly consists of a combination of sprints, varying resistance levels, and normal rides.
The best thing about spinning is that you can go at your own pace or keep up with the instructor; it’s totally up to you. Spinning is also a great way to exercise with a friend, make new friends, or break through the boredom barrier with a new style of exercise. (more…)
Starting a new gym experience may seem a little overwhelming at times, that’s why I recommend hitting the fitness classes. Fitness classes not only offer an intense workout, but provide you the opportunity to meet some friends that share the same fitness goals and also learn a little more about which activities support certain areas of the body.
Most fitness facilities offer a plethora of different classes from spinning to yoga. Each class will target different parts of the body as well as different intensities of cardiovascular training. I recommend trying each class to find the ones that give you the best workout and that you find most enjoyable as well.
Before joining a gym, ask the membership representative to discuss the classes offered or give you a brochure about each class. Also, be sure there is no added charge for fitness classes. Most fitness facilities offer free classes as part of the membership fee, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure. (more…)