The impending autumn means one thing and one thing only for many people – the kickoff of football season. Millions will sit on bleachers and couches to watch the football players play their sport, cheering on their athleticism and strength.
But what about the dedicated athletes on the sidelines? Few people recognize it, and it’s been a point of contention for years, but the cheerleaders supporting the team are working just as hard as the players on the field.
“Football has historically been viewed as a very ‘manly sport,'” remarked our guest editor Dempsey Marks, a fitness expert and yoga trainer who founded DepmseyFit.com, about what separates football and cheerleading in people’s minds. “The sport itself is associated with toughness, pain, and even violence. And primarily football is played by men. [The sport] glorifies aggressive behavior, which society associates with men and masculinity.”
“Cheerleading has evolved from simple movements and cheers to a highly athletic undertaking, which requires strength, coordination, agility, and skill,” she added. (more…)
One of the most popular fitness trends of 2012 was the CrossFit phenomenon. Dedicated gyms gave followers a place to perfect their WOD (workout of the day) while finding motivation from like-minded men and women. CrossFit is not going out with the old but will be very much a part of this new year. If you’ve thought about joining the craze, let us be your guide.
What is CrossFit?
In the year 2000, Greg Glassman created a workout program that has become known as CrossFit. This program is a short workout that involves high intensity functional movements for the entire body. The idea is to push one’s self as hard as possible for a short amount of time, sometimes even less than 20 minutes.
CrossFit involves many dynamic exercises such as plyometric jumps, Olympic lifts, sprinting, rowing, jump rope, flipping tires, body weight exercises, weightlifting and even climbing a rope to the top of a ceiling. If you’ve been to a bootcamp, it looks very similar. In terms of weight lifting, we aren’t just talking about your average dumbbell, but other non-traditional weight lifting equipment. Some of these might include sand bags, kettlebells, water-filled containers, and suspension systems.
The goal during this very high intensity workout is to perform a certain number or repetitions in a certain amount of time. Some athletes who take CrossFit classes are even scored and ranked in order to encourage competition and to track progress. For those who are more advanced, some will even compete against one another in person and then post their results on the CrossFit website. (more…)
Many of us look forward to the weekend for several reasons, whether we have big plans or are just ready for some rest. If you’re like me, you have a hard time getting yourself to the gym on Saturday mornings when there are so many other things you’d rather be doing (like sleeping in).
When you finally do get up and around, there are a lot of workouts you can do right in your own home without any equipment other than your own body weight. These exercises are a great switch up from your regular gym routine and can benefit your body no matter how intense your normal workouts may be.
For this week’s Saturday Morning Drill, we’ve come up with several body weight and plyometric exercises that will get your blood pumping, sweat dripping and help strengthen your upper body and core. Among the many benefits of plyometric workouts are muscle development, speed, agility, endurance, coordination and fat loss. Let’s get started.
By Pamela Hernandez
When we say weight loss what we really mean is fat loss. We want to workout and eat, in most cases, to get lean and carve lovely muscular curves. Many try to slog it out on the treadmill or elliptical trainer for hours on end to burn fat. I believe there are much more efficient, and entertaining, ways to burn calories and create a lean physique.
Ready to break out of your cardio machine routine? Try one of my favorite (and highly effective) fat burning workouts.
Squats: Weight training will always top my list of fat burners. Your resting metabolism can stay elevated for up to 48 hours after strength training, meaning more calories burned while you sleep or sit at your desk. Squats are at the top of my list because they use all of the big muscles of the legs and there are endless variations to keep you from getting bored. My favorite is the overhead squat, engaging muscles from top to bottom.
Boxing: I have no desire to hit someone but when I want to work up a sweat I love hitting the bag or putting on my Tae-Bo video. Your core and legs (remember big muscles burn more calories) provide power to your punches while increasing your heart rate more quickly than the treadmill. If you really want to sculpt tank top ready shoulders and arms, trying shadow boxing with weighted gloves or light dumbbells in hand. (more…)
Plyometrics are a specific and intense type of exercise designed to produce fast and explosive movements usually to improve athletic performance for sports.
Plyometrics, or jump training, is a unique form of training because unlike traditional resistance training where reps are slow and methodical, the muscle is loaded, usually with your own body weight, and then contracted rapidly, to not only build muscle, but increase strength, elasticity and reaction time so you can jump higher and run faster.
It’s summer time, and with the hot weather, there’s no hiding a saggy tush. Toning and tightening your glutes is the only way to give your butt the lift it needs and lessen the appearance cellulite (which we can all use.) Here are your top three exercises to create a shapely backside you’ll be proud to show off in your teeny bikini:
Jump Lunges Adding plyometrics, or jumping, to your standard lunges will increase the blood flow to your working muscles by 25 percent, which helps fuel your muscles and power your metabolism, giving you greater results in less time. Start in a lunge position, left leg forward, hands on hips, both knees at 90 degree angles. Push off from your front heel, propelling your body into the air. In mid-air, switch your feet so your right leg is now in front. Land with soft knees and slowly lower back into a lunge, both knees at 90 degrees. Repeat, performing 8-10 lunges on each leg. (more…)
The P90X system is a 90-day fitness program designed for you to lose weight and firm your body. It consists of 12 muscle pumping workouts, three-phase nutrition plan, detailed fitness guide, and online peer support.
The secret to the success of the P90X program is “muscle confusion.” Most people often make the mistake of getting stuck in the same workout routine for several months at a time. P90X breaks each muscle group down throughout each of the 12, hour-long, workout videos. Each video targets different parts of the body, which does not allow the body to adapt to specific workouts. So, if your goal is to increase muscle tone, improve your overall fitness and cardiovascular endurance, and are willing to devote some time and energy, then the P90X Training System is the perfect workout program for you. (more…)
Plyometrics are generally used as a sport specific type of training. This type of exercise consists of fast powerful movements and muscle contractions to increase speed, power, strength, flexibility, and improving overall performance. The muscle is loaded with an eccentric (lengthening) action, followed immediately by a concentric (shortening) action. Plyometric exercise is used in almost every sport. This is a great way to incorporate a new routine into your program if needed.
Top 5 Simple Plyometric Exercises
1. Cable Squat Jump– Good for total body strength and endurance: 3 sets of 20
2. Medicine Ball Chest Pass– Good for upper body power, explosion, and endurance: 3 sets of 20 to 30
3. Squat Medicine Ball Side Throw– Good for lower/lower body endurance and core strength: 3 sets of 20
4. Vertical Jump With Arms In Air– Good for total body explosion and endurance: 3 sets of 20 to 30
5. Medicine Ball Toss Sit-Ups With Rotation– Good for core strength and endurance: 3 sets of 20 to 30
Check out all of Matt’s Top 5 Fitness Tips.