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When you are dealing with weights, it’s a never-ending argument whether it is better to use machines or free weights. Some people prefer weights because these result in more growth and target the primary muscle group and secondary muscles as well as stabilizing muscles.
However, some people argue that machines are better since they minimize the risk of injury (in fact, they are used for the rehabilitation of injuries!) and make it easier to isolate a specific muscle at a certain angle. Machines are also more beginner-friendly.
If you are also torn between these two methods, good news! A Hammer Strength chest press combines the benefits of both minus the drawbacks! It gives you the control like a machine does and also allows you to pile on more weight for growth that no dumbbell or barbell can provide.
A Hammer Strength Chest Press is essentially a hybrid of both machine and free weights. It is a piece of equipment that functions like a machine by giving you a platform and handles to position your body correctly. It also uses free weight plates instead of stacked weights that you can add or remove depending on your preferred resistance.
Here are other things you need to know about a Hammer Strength chest press:
Because you will be performing the same movement like you would with a lever incline chest press, the hammer strength chest press allows you to targets your pecs while also working your biceps, anterior deltoids, and triceps for a great addition to your upper body exercise.
Since Hammer Strength machines use resistance and leverage like free weights, you actually end up lifting the weights directly whereas, in machines, the resistance goes through cables or pulleys. This also helps in isolating muscles and targeting both sides of the body equally.
Here are the specific steps in performing hammer strength chest press:
Step 1: Sit on the chest press and adjust the seat height so that the handles are situated just below your shoulders. The position of the handles should be similar to the position of dumbbells or a barbell if you are benching.
You can also adjust the seat higher if you want to target your lower chest muscles or lower it to target the upper chest muscles. However, make sure your feet stay flat on the ground.
Step 2: Place your hands on the handles with your palms facing downward. Start with a wide enough grip so that your elbow in each arm is aligned with your wrist and your forearms are straight.
If you are aiming to target your outer chest, opt for a wider grip. A closer grip, on the other hand, allows you to focus on your inner chest more. Also, keep your wrists unbent as if you are throwing a punch and not backward or forward like riding a motorcycle.
Step 3: Take a deep breath and push your shoulder blades together and downward. This should make your chest puff out and also keeps your shoulders in a safe position. Do not flare out your elbows but keep them tucked. Keep your abs engaged and do not let your lower back to arch.
Step 4: Press the handles together as you release your breath, all the while keeping your shoulder blades pinched together and your back as flat against the backrest as possible.
Step 5: Slowly return to the starting position, keeping the motion under your control and not doing it explosively.
Step 6: Repeat the cycle as many times as you need to.
Of course, you are free to use the hammer chest press as you please depending on your goals and training needs. However, I have a few recommendations regarding the best way to use it based on my experience.
First, if you are suffering or have suffered from an injury in the past that limits your ability to use free weights, a hammer strength machine is the best way to continue building your chest muscles without getting hurt. In this case, I suggest you use the chest press on the hammer strength machine as one of your main exercises during the beginning of your workout.
However, I personally prefer leaving the hammer strength for the latter part of my routine. I would instead start with a dumbbell or a barbell because these allow you to go heavier.
I found that starting a workout more intense and with heavier weights, while you are not yet tired is a great way to stimulate the muscle fibers to exert their maximum effort. Remember that as you progress in working out, your muscles accumulate fatigue and this limits their capacity.
When exercising with free weights, much of this fatigue is felt in your stabilizing and supporting muscles aside from the primary muscles. For example, the rotator cuff and shoulder muscles become tired first on a chest day.
Fatigued stabilizing muscles tend to hinder your performance on the next chest exercises. This is where the hammer strength chest press machine comes to the rescue. The machine removes the workload from the stabilizing muscles, allowing you to work on your primary target muscles longer and better.
If you are doing other chest day workouts in combination with the hammer strength chest press, 6 sets of 10 repetitions each is an excellent place to start.
For a bit more of a challenge, increase the number of repetitions to about 10 to 15. This will encourage more blood flow into the muscles and push your chest training to a higher level.
For a more detailed way on how to perform this exercise, please watch this video:
The hammer strength chest press is a safe, easy, and effective way to target not just your chest muscles but the other upper body muscles as well. The hammer strength machine gives you optimum control over your movement while also allowing you to lift the weights directly.
This not only isolates important muscle groups but also prevents muscle fatigue from affecting the quality of your workout.
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Pectus excavatum is a congenital deformity of the chest wall, causing the breastbone to sink inward. It can pose many health issues like heart problems and breathing difficulties, while also affecting one’s self-esteem.
The ideal corrective measure for severe pectus excavatum is surgery. However, for mild and moderate cases, physical training and exercise can help reduce the depth of the cavity and minimize the complications.
Keep reading to know more about this condition and how these five pectus excavatum exercises can benefit you!
When people talk about working out, the first thoughts that would come to mind would be exercises that require lifting or carrying heavy weights.
Most people think that the best way to develop their muscles and boost their strength and endurance is to make use of weights. But did you know that there is an exercise that can help you achieve the same thing using just bodyweight alone?
Yes, you read that right. There is an exercise that allows you to build muscles without any need for weights or gym visits. What is this? This is what we call calisthenics.
In this article, let us discover what calisthenics is and how it can benefit us. In addition, you'll also see the exercises you should include in your calisthenics exercises list.
Calisthenics is one of the oldest forms of training and does not require any equipment as it relies on your body weight to build your muscles.
Just like most gym exercises, this type of training offers lots of benefits. First, it can help build muscular endurance when you perform it in the form of a circuit. In addition, this type of exercise can improve flexibility since most of these exercises require a proper range of motion and recruit different muscle groups.
Lastly, the movements involved in these exercises also boost muscular strength since the muscles are used repetitively. But more than that, these exercises can also increase joint and bone strength.
Now that you know what the benefits of calisthenics are, you may be wondering what the best calisthenics exercises that you should perform are. Here they are:
For many, this is the ultimate upper body exercise as it targets the lower back, core, forearms, shoulders, and triceps but its primary focus is on the chest.
You already know how to do push-ups. Just make sure that you keep your body straight, feet together and get the chest closest to the floor as possible, and you are good to go.
There are plenty of push up variations. You can watch it here:
For this, you would need a straight or parallel bar. Chest dips are similar to triceps dips, but it targets your pecs instead of your triceps. The key is to go lower than the triceps dip.
Place your hands on the bar then straighten your arms, raising your feet off the ground. Bend your elbows to the side then lower your body up to the point where your upper arms are already parallel to the ground. Continue to sink your body until you feel a slight pull at your chest.
This exercise helps to improve your core and make you sweat like crazy. The purpose of this exercise is to correct your lower back, hips and pelvis alignment.
This is actually a pretty simple exercise. All that you have to do is to assume a push-up position but with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Let both of your forearms rest on the floor. Place your elbows right under your shoulders and look towards the floor. Hold this position for 1 minute.
This does not just improve the core but strengthens the lower abdominal muscle as well. With your legs fluttering up and down, this movement will be able to recruit more muscle fibers, making it more effective.
Just lay on the floor and support your back by putting your hands underneath your butt. Lift your legs, putting your feet 3 to 4 inches above the ground. Keep your leg straight.
Lift one leg higher than the other then lower it as you raise the other leg higher.
Pull-ups require you to pull up your bodyweight and are useful in conditioning and developing your upper body.
You will need a pull-up bar for this. The first thing that you need to do is to grab the bar with your palms down (shoulder-width apart). Remove your legs off the floor and hang to the bar.
Afterwards, try to pull yourself up by pulling your elbows to the floor. Continue pulling your body until your chin has passed the bar. Lower yourself then repeat the steps.
This exercise targets all the muscle in your lower body, especially your legs.
Stand straight then place your feet at shoulder-width apart. Extend your hands in front of you then sit back as if you are sitting on a chair. Your head must be kept forward even as your body bends slightly. Arch your lower back slightly as your body goes down.
Lower down to the point where your thighs are already parallel to the floor. Place your weight in your heels. Hold this for a few minutes then slowly go back to the starting position.
This calisthenics exercise targets your leg muscles from various angles. It also improves the balance of your body.
Stand straight with your feet positioned hip-width apart. Step your leg forward (as far as you can), lifting your back heel and keeping the front foot as flat as you can. While you do this, make sure to place the majority of your body weight on your front foot.
Lower your body until your rear knee is almost in contact with the floor. Your knees must be bent at a 90-degree angle.
Slowly push yourself back to the starting position then do the same steps with your other leg.
Calisthenics is the most underrated form of body training nowadays. However, it is also the most effective one. If you wish to build muscular strength and endurance and improve flexibility and balance in the least complicated way possible, you should perform this calisthenics exercise list regularly and consistently.
Do you have other calisthenics exercises that you want to recommend? If yes, please share them with us below.
A true fan of the sport knows who the best athlete in the field is! Old Waldner may be the best table tennis player that comes to mind. I would have to agree that Old Waldner, really, is one of the best. Unfortunately, since he is retired, he can no longer add more trophies and achievements up against his sleeves!
This younger generation of athletes has a lot to catch up. However, the sport had evolved pretty fast, and athletes like Ma Long and Zhang Jike has achieved a lot, and they are not over thirty years old yet! Promising younger players like XU Xin and ZAN Zhendong are climbing the ladder of achievements at a staggering rate!
These guys have set the bar pretty high so it would require more than having a table tennis table to be as good as them!
But who is the best table tennis player? Let’s take a look at the top 5 players that ITTF listed according to their ranking. Let’s start with number 5!
Dimitrij is a Ukranian-born athlete who took lives in Germany. His love for the sport was introduced by his father, Mikhail who was a Soviet table tennis champion in his younger years. His father’s love for the sport inspired Dimitrij to pursue a career in table tennis.
Dimitrij is one of Germany’s representative in the table tennis Men’s team that played at the 2008 Summer Olympics. They went home with a silver medal from the Olympics. He faced some challenges in late 2010 but regained his eligibility to play table tennis.
In 2012 Summer Olympics, Dimitrij took the bronze for the singles and team category, respectively, for Germany. In 2015, Dimitrij beat Marcos Freitas of Portugal and went home with a gold medal at the European Games. He lost the singles to Vladimir Samsonov but won the German Team a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics.
With a determined mindset and laser-focus, he became the number 1 table tennis player in January 2018. Competing for the first rank is extremely difficult, and many other players are eying the top spot. Today, he holds the fifth position in the ITTF ranking.
At number four is another esteemed German athlete that played for the Olympics along with Dimitrij Ovtcharov. This thirty-seven year old was hailed as the number 1 table tennis player in 2003, 2011, and in 2018. However, today, he only holds the fourth position in the ITTF ranking.
He started playing ping pong when he was a toddler. His father coached him and thought him the basics of the sport. Timo started his career at the age of eight. He is one of the youngest players of the National League and quickly gained fame.
He beat Vladimir Samsonov in 2002 and gained international attention. He was hailed as the 10th best table tennis player in Germany in the same year. He faced the seasoned Old Waldner in the 2004 Summer Olympics. However, he lost.
He also played for the German team in 2008, 2012, and 2016. He was not fortunate enough o bag a gold medal for the singles and team category, but they had silver in 2008 and bronze in 2012 and 2016.
This young lad is just 23 years old and has managed to reach the third rank in the ITTF. Like Timo, he, too, started playing table tennis at a very young age. He is full talent but hasn’t won major championships immediately after he went professional.
He had a lot of matches that he almost won, however, fortune did not smile on him. It was just last year when his career entered the fast lane. He gradually climbed the ranks and won the Asian Cup. Just this year, his team won the World Team Championships and the Team World Cup held in Halmstad and London.
Presently, he holds the 3rd spot of ITTF’s top 10 table tennis players. At 23, he has a lot of potentials to become the greatest player of all time. What will happen to him in the next decade? Who knows? Today, he’s just two ranks away from number one.
Xu is currently holding the 2nd spot of ITTF’s top 10. At twenty-eight years old, he holds 13 World Tour championships since 2010 up to present. One of his notable matches was in 2014 where he beat Ma Long and defended his title as the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in Dubai.
He uses a penhold grip and is among the few Chinese athletes practicing such. His long arm span has enabled him to conquer tournaments and return every rally that comes his way. He is known for his spins and deceptive serves. He has been noted to relentlessly practice and reinvent serves to come up with a lot of different variations and perfect each style.
With his southpaw stance and creative serves, many opponents are intimidated by him. At twenty-eight years old, he has a lot in store for his career.
Fan was just 15 years old when he joined the Chinese National Table Tennis Team. He currently holds the youngest athlete to achieve the title ITTF World Tour Champion and the World Table Tennis Champion.
Getting the top spot was not easy. He held and protected the second place for 29 months until he was able to snag the number one rank. It took relentless hard work and training to win tournaments. Looking at Fan’s impressive record since 2013, no doubt that he has a lot more for him in store.
He won the ITTF World Tour singles in Poland and Germany in 2013. He also won it on Kuwait and Sweden in 2014. He dominated the Asian Table Tennis Championship held at Thailand in 2015. In the same year, he won ITTF World Tour singles in Poland and Sweden. In 2016, he won Table Tennis World Cup held in Germany. In the same year, he took the championship at Japan and China for ITTF’s World Your singles category. In 2017, he bagged the Asian Table Tennis Championships in China and ITTF World Tour in Kazakhstan.
That includes the singles category only! It does not include his doubles, team, and 2018 achievements! Surely, it would take tremendous work and effort to beat this guy and conquer the top spot! And one more thing, he’s just 21 years old.
With these fierce athletes at the top of the ranks fighting for the best table tennis player title, it would be quite difficult to set a new record. Beating those guys would require tremendous training. But it sure is exciting to see their matches!
Do you want to be as amazing as these table tennis players? If yes, then you should get started on training and honing your skills. To determine what are the table tennis equipment you may need, please check these buying guides.
Have you always been puzzled and confused about those zig-zag weightlifting bars at your local gym? Well, that bar is actually called a curl bar or an EZ bar. They are not accidentally bent or broken but are intentionally shaped that way for a purpose.
EZ bars increase the versatility of specific exercises or prevent injury. In weightlifting, it’s important to know how much each component weighs to know the actual weight you are lifting and the impact they can have.
So, how much does a curl bar weigh? Why exactly do you need to know? Scroll down to find out!
Why do curl bars exist when there are already the common straight bars? Well, although straight bars stimulate the biceps more, curl bars have some pretty substantial benefits as well:
When using the curl bar, your hands are either in the neutral position (palms facing each other) or semi-supinated to supinated position (palms facing upward). This allows you to work on the brachioradialis or your forearm muscles. However, it reduces the action on the biceps a little.
According to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute exercise scientists in New York, curl bars take the pressure off your wrists while lifting, especially when doing arm curls. Arm curls typically target the biceps or upper arm muscles but can also work other muscles depending on the way you hold the bar.
Numerous experts like Bob Cicherillo, an IFBB bodybuilder, say that the curl bar is much safer to use than the straight bar. It puts your elbows, wrists, and forearms in a safe, comfortable, and natural position, thus reducing the risk of common lifting injuries.
Most people who use a straight bar regularly over long periods of time often end up with injuries or conditions like medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow. These are intensely painful.
So, if you have had arm injuries in the past or want to save yourself from all that, I recommend that you start switching to curl bars from now on. Also, always make sure that you are using the right weight and proper form.
To know how to properly use a curl bar properly, check out this video:
There are no standard weights for curl bars. Generally, curl bars weigh about 10 to 40 pounds, depending on the type. Here are the three different types of curl bars:
Also known as the beginner curl bar, the standard curl bar is about 120 cm or 47 inches long and weighs around 10 to 15 pounds or 15 to 17.5 pounds. It weighs less than a regular barbell or straight bar.
A standard curl bar is often made of a chrome-plated or stainless steel tube with a 1” diameter. Weight plates are attached at the end collars and held there by rotatable cuffs or butterfly clamps.
With its name, you may assume this curl bar is for Olympic athletes only. However, this is actually the intermediate curl bar. It is about 5 inches or 12 cm longer than the standard bar and weighs between 20 to 25 pounds.
The body is similar to that of a standard curl, but at the end collars, Olympic curl bars have metal tube sleeves with bearings inside. These add to the weight and will allow weight plates to rotate freely as you load them.
Unless you are aiming to lift at least 100 pounds, you do not need to invest in an Olympic curl bar.
Yes, you guessed it right, this one is more of an advanced-level curl bar. Again, it is similar in appearance to the other two and also similar in length and function as the Olympic curl bar.
However, the Super curl bar weighs about 35 to 37.5 pounds and has a more complex handle design. This design lets the uses train with a parallel grip to focus on the biceps. Like the other two curl bar types, it has several grip markings that allow you to work on specific arm muscles.
While both are a common sight in gyms, the curl bar and straight bar differ in shape, weight, and their overall function related to the different exercises you can use them for. Of course, you can use them interchangeably if the other is not available, but you may have to consider a different grip or form to achieve the same results.
Regarding shape, a curl bar has a cambered “W” form that looks like a zigzag. Straight bars are well, straight, and have no bends whatsoever. In both cases, weights are added to the end for increased resistance.
Straight bars can weigh up to 45 pounds while a curl bar usually falls under 40 pounds. This weight difference is due to the straight bar being longer.
Curl bars are intended for triceps extension and bicep curls since they allow your wrist to pronate or turn inward or downward. With a straight bar, you can only use either an underhand or overhand grip with your wrists in a straight angle. With a curl bar, your wrists will be slightly angled.
When using a natural underhand grip, your wrists will be turned outward or supinated, and if you use an overhand or reverse grip, your wrists will be slightly turned inward or pronated. The same goes for when you use a tennis racquet.
Curl bars are used to work with smaller muscle groups which require less weight than when you want to work on your legs and chest, for example. Unlike straight bars, you do not need too much wrist strength and skill to use a curl bar to prevent pain and injury.
Overall, a straight bar may work on your biceps a little more, but a curl bar will save you from pain and injury. As for how much does a curl bar weigh, the answer depends on the type of curl bar but generally, curl bars weigh about 10 to 50 pounds.
You can find some good curl bars here.
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Many people believe that you are no longer capable of learning or developing new sports or skills when you reach a certain age in your life. While there’s a certain truth to it, this common misconception surely doesn’t apply to learn tennis later in life.
The truth is, tennis is one sport that you can learn, and master even if you are already a bit older. The best way that you can do that is through adult tennis lessons.
Another common misconception that you may encounter is this—only kids can learn and benefit from tennis lessons. But the truth is that tennis lessons offer plenty of benefits for adults too. Here are some of them:
Tennis seems like an easy sport. After all, you just have to swing the racquet and hit the ball, right? Well, there’s more to tennis than that.
A properly trained tennis instructor can teach you the right swing patterns, correct grips, proper form, and movement that will allow you to make the most out of every shot that you will take.
The wrong form, grip, and movement increase your risk of getting injured in the long run. With the help of a tennis instructor, you can correct these aspects to avoid possible injury and accidents.
When you undergo tennis lessons, your instructor will subject you to drills and games that will help you improve various essential skills such as consistency, accuracy, mental alertness, and court positioning.
There’s no denying the fact that tennis lessons are incredibly beneficial, especially to an adult like you. For you to maximize these benefits, it is crucial that you carefully choose the adult tennis lesson that would suit your needs and skill level.
To help you do that, here are some of the things that you need to consider:
Keep in mind that your instructor will be the one to set the pace and structure of your lessons but let me be clear with this—finding a great tennis instructor is not as easy as it seems.
To determine the skills of the instructor, you must look into his certifications and trainings. According to experts, a tennis instructor should have an NTRP level higher than 4.5.
In addition to that, you should also take into consideration his teaching experience. Aside from his years of teaching experience, you should also make sure that he already has experience in teaching people in the same age group as you.
There are two types of tennis lessons—solo and group lessons. You need to be familiar with your learning style for you to determine which type suits you best.
Maybe you are a shy person who can learn more when you work closely with the coach? If this is the case, a private or solo tennis lesson would be better. Often, this type of tennis lesson is recommended for beginners who need more attention and time from the instructors.
Do you learn better when in a class setting wherein the coach will explain the drills and then ask you and your classmates to perform it? Are you a social butterfly who thrives in group settings?
If yes, then the group lessons would be the best for you. This is usually recommended for intermediate players as this setting allows them to use the skills that they have learned during their private lessons.
What is your goal in taking tennis lessons? Do you plan on learning the basics? Do you want to improve your techniques or tactics? Are you keen on sharpening your mental skills? Or do you wish to stay fit by playing tennis?
Once you have determined what your objectives are, it will be easier for you to decide if the drills, games, and structure of the tennis lesson are suitable for you or not.
Most tennis lessons follow almost the same structure. It begins with a warm-up session. The second part would be core tennis drills. If you are an intermediate tennis player, it may be followed by a match session. For the last part, you will be required to perform stretching and cool-down activities.
Of course, the price of the tennis lesson may also be an issue, especially if you have a tight budget. There is nothing wrong in looking for an affordable but reliable tennis lessons (you can check the customer reviews to determine how useful the lessons are) but please try to avoid lessons with too low fees as you will definitely get what you pay for when you do so.
If you wish to learn how to play tennis at your age, you should go beyond just attending tennis lessons. Just like all the other sports, practice makes perfect when it comes to tennis too.
That is why it is vital that you dedicate enough time and effort in playing the game at least three times a week. You can do this by hitting the ball against a wall, using a tennis ball machine or playing tennis with one of your friends.
By doing this, you can put all the techniques and concepts that you have learned from your lessons into practice.
Although learning tennis at a more mature age is possible, you should understand the fact that it may come with various challenges. With the help of adult tennis lessons, you can learn the basics in the easiest and most productive way possible.
Just make sure to keep in mind the tips and things that we have mentioned above so you can find the most suitable adult tennis lessons for your needs.