Category Archives for "Exercise"

22nd October 2019

Why you should train for strength

​10 Benefits of Strength Training

1

Increased Cognitive Function 

Strength training has shown to boost your cognitive function. This is largely down to the fact that training with challenging loads enhances the neuromuscular system (all your muscles in your body and the nerves serving them) to be efficient, which translates on to the way our muscular system functions. As we age, cognitive function becomes susceptible to degeneration and so utilising strength training throughout your years will do wonders to offset diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia.

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2

Increased Functional Strength

​Increasing your capacity to get daily activities and tasks done is something strength training can help you with. Developing the ability to pick things up, put them down, push and pull them is exactly what strength training should be about. If done correctly, these primal movement patterns can be enhanced with strength training. It can make your life easier as you become accustomed to being stronger for life's daily tasks.

3

Better Body Composition

​Strength training is a perfect tool to torch body fat and builds lean muscle. The combination of stimulating and growing active metabolic tissue and working energy systems, which burn a vast amount of calories, is a perfect recipe for body composition goals. Strength training worked in this fashion using challenging loads over moderate rep ranges will not only burn fat during your workout but also up to 72 hours after.

​4

Increased Metabolism

​As a result of enhancing body composition and developing muscle mass through strength training, an increased metabolic rate is also associated. This is similar to putting a bigger engine in a car, more petrol required. If you're like me and you love your food, then this benefit is good news. Eat more without putting on fat.

​5

Anti-aging

It’s never too later to start strength training. Strength training has numerous benefits in reducing the ageing process. Strength training is by far the best remedy for reducing aging and it trumps any cosmetic surgery or supplement.

​6

Increased Pain Relief

Utilising strength training in a smartly formatted training program can do wonders for your posture and function. What this does in turn is reduce the amount of pain that is associated with dysfunctional joints and muscles seen with poor postures. Have a professional assess your current posture and devise a training plan that not only increases your fitness abilities but also rehabilitates your posture. Let’s face it, a stronger body is a more functional one and a more functional body is less likely to be riddled with pain.

​7

Increased Immunity

​More muscle mass and a better firing neuromuscular system points towards us having a stronger immune system. Strength training does not only make you stronger physically, but it enhances your physiology making it more robust. This ties in with point 5. As we age we leak strength, cognitive function and immunity, so keeping our bodies strong from the inside out is an important component to a healthy, longer lasting body.

​8

Strength Training Supplements Cardio Vascular Training

​Keeping the heart healthy is of our upmost importance and so working your ticker during some form of cardio vascular training is very beneficial. Strength training on the other hand complements CV, helping us stay strong enough to deal with various activities. Running for example is a popular form of CV training but many find it difficult as joints hurt and lower backs twinge. Strength training can help us deal with these sorts of impact injuries and this leads me on to point 9.

​9

Incredible for Sports Performance

​Strength training is incredible for sports performance and that's why many, if not all athletes have some form of strength and conditioning coach and program to follow. Strength training allows us to develop our force outputs and so we can translate this to our sporting tasks. For example, developing a squat in the gym can translate into increased jumping and sprinting performance. This is because it enables us to begin to generate more force into the ground. Moreover, because strength training makes us more robust, it should reduce the chances of injury significantly.

10

Gender Friendly

​Strength training is for everyone. It can be seen as very male dominated but this really is untrue. Females will see tremendous benefits when taking part in strength training. Thankfully now, the stigma of weight training being just for men is fading and a rise of female influencers promoting a strong and healthy attitude towards body image and weights is growing. Gaining a large amount of muscle mass and looking bigger is often a worry for most women. However, females will not build a large amount of muscle due to their hormonal balance but will see great physical benefits when taking part in strength training activities.

​​How to Build a Strength Session

1

Volume and Intensity

​When training for strength, it is important we design the session so that we instigate the desired physiological response. To maximise our strength gains we should be looking to work at low volume with a higher intensity, meaning less repetitions with a heavy weight. 5 sets of 5 reps working at 85% of your 1 rep max is a popular strength session structure. High intensity exercise will purposely tear the myofibrils (muscle fibers) which is the key to building strength. Your body then repairs these fibers, making them thicker, denser and stronger.

2

Exercise Selection

​To some degree this comes down to personal preference. I personally believe that utilising big compound exercises is the most efficient way to build full body strength. A compound exercise is a movement which utilises multiple muscle groups and joints. When using these exercises, we are able to recruit many more muscle fibres and damage a higher volume of myofibrils. A few personal favorites of mine are:

Back Squat

Deadlift

Bench Press

Pull Up

Bent Over Row

Clean and Press

Overhead Press

3

Rest and Recovery (part 1):

​One of the most vital parts of strength training comes after the exercise. After such intense work we need to ensure we allow our body time to recover. We do not want risk overtraining and injuring the body. The first stage of recovery comes straight after your training session. You must always cool down using an active recovery directly after a session. This will allow your heart rate to gradually decrease and prevent blood from pooling around the muscles. This pooling of blood leads to a build-up of lactic acid and painful cramps. A thorough stretch and foam roll of the muscles worked is essential for the removal of lactate, and prevention of cramp. This stretch also keeps the body more supple and flexible.

​4

Rest and Recovery (part 2):

​The next part of your recovery will focus on your nutrition and sleep. The macro-nutrient responsible for muscle growth and recovery is protein. If you are undergoing a strength training programme I would highly recommend protein rich diet. Foods which are high in protein include; chicken, fish, nuts and tofu.

Now onto bedtime. Sleep is a crucial aid to strength training recovery and helps with muscle repair after a strenuous workout. On the flip side, inadequate sleep can interfere with the body’s ability to recover after lifting weights, and inhibits the body’s ability to build maximum muscle strength. Along with dietary protein to aid in muscle repair and new muscle growth, your body produces its own muscle-building hormones while you sleep, including human growth hormone (HGH). During the N3 stage of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep, blood flow to your muscles increases, and tissue growth and repair occurs. During REM sleep, the muscles relax, which can help relieve tension and reduce symptoms of certain types of chronic pain. In fact, many of the critical restorative functions in the body—like tissue repair and muscle growth—occur mostly or only during sleep. A consistent sleep schedule of seven to nine hours a night (possibly more if you are a competitive athlete) will help the muscle-healing process.

​5

​Safety

​Last but certainly not least we need to talk about how to ensure you are completely safe when strength training. Before any exercise a warm up is essential for getting your body mentally and physically prepared; You need to increase blood flow to your muscles to ensure they are warm. This is in order to reduce the risk of injury and improve performance.

Whilst exercising, correct technique is vital. The quality of the movement is much more important than the amount of resistance moved. Although the goal with strength training is to ultimately increase load, if this begins to compromise our technique, we need to regress. I can tell you from personal experience that lifting weights incorrectly or pushing the body too far can result in injury. Therefore, before undergoing any exercise, no matter how simple or complex, it is very important to practice correct from. Ask a professional to demonstrate and teach you the movement. Personal training is the most effective way to master technique. Having a professional giving you their undivided attention and constant feedback will prevent you from developing any bad habits when exercising.  Lastly, if you are lifting heavy weights you should always have a spotter. A spotter is there to support you and help you move the weight if needed.


​6

​Strength Training at Home

Although you may not be able to lift heavy weights at home, there is no reason you cannot build strength. You can use bodyweight resistance training at home to develop strength and muscular endurance. Focus on time under tension (slow reps) and static exercises to increase the intensity of the session to maximise strength gains.

​7

​Now its Your Turn

Below I have designed two different full body workouts. One to be completed in the gym and the other for you to try at home. If you struggle with any of the exercises remember to always ask advice from a professional. Remember, technique is everything so start slowly, build confidence and regress if needed.

​Strength Workouts

1

​Home Workout

2

​Gym Workout

The Benefits of HIIT Training

What is HIIT?

HIIT training is an acronym for High intensity interval training. It is a broad term for workouts that involves short bursts of high intensity exercise with varying rest periods. This variation of training is ideal for those who live busy lives and feel they don’t have time to exercise as you can create an effective HIIT workout in less than 10 minutes. Despite the short duration of these sessions, if completed effectively they can produce health benefits up to twice as much as moderate intensity exercise. 

The exercise you choose to do can vary but  can include; rowing, cycling, jumping or sprinting. The variations are limitless. An example of a how a HIIT session may be structured is 30 seconds sprints on the stationary bike followed by 30 seconds rest, and this is repeated 8 to 10 times. The amount of time you exercise  depends on the exercise you choose and the 

This article will list some of the major health benefits of HIIT training and try to show you why this is something you should be building into you weekly exercise routine. 

1. HIIT can burn a lot of calories in a very short amount of time!

One scientific study compared the calories burned during 30 minutes each of HIIT, weight training, running and biking. The researchers found that HIIT burned 25–30% more calories than the other forms of exercise. In this study, a HIIT repetition consisted of 20 seconds of maximal effort, followed by 40 seconds of rest. This means that the participants were actually only exercising for 1/3 of the time that the running and biking groups were. Although each workout session was 30 minutes long in this study, it is common for HIIT workouts to be much shorter than traditional exercise sessions. This is because HIIT allows you to burn about the same amount of calories, but spend less time exercising.

2. Your metabolic rate is higher hours after exercise!

One of the ways HIIT helps you burn calories actually comes after you are done exercising. Several scientific studies have demonstrated HIIT’s impressive ability to increase your metabolic rate for hours after exercise. Some researchers have even found that HIIT increases your metabolism after exercise more so than jogging and weight training. 

3. HIIT can be done anywhere!

No matter where you are a HIIT workout can be done without constraints. You don’t need any equipments and very little space to be able to do an effective workout. Check out our youtube channel for various home workouts you can try yourself!

4. You can build muscle!

In addition to helping with fat loss, HIIT could help increase muscle mass in certain individuals. However, the gain in muscle mass is primarily in the muscles being used the most, often the trunk and legs. Additionally, it’s important to note that increases in muscle mass are more likely to occur in individuals who were less active to begin with .

5. Improve the health of your heart!

They say that extreme training helps build extreme results. It’s hard for most people to push themselves to an anaerobic zone where you lose your breath and feel your heart pounding faster and faster. With interval training it’s easier to push yourself to that level because of the rest interval that comes right after you reach that point. This helps keep a healthy heart and helps blood flow effectively throughout your whole body.

Example of a basic HIIT workout with no equipment!!

Squat Jumps: 20 seconds 

Burpees: 20 seconds 

Press Ups: 20 seconds 

Plank: 20 seconds 

10 seconds rest between exercises

30 seconds rest after each round

Complete 3-4 rounds. 

Podfit’s Top 6 Bodyweight Exercises!

So here are a list of our favourite bodyweight exercises that you can add to your workout. These exercises need no equipment at all so you can even complete them in the comfort of your own home! 

  1. Burpee:

Target Area: Full Body

Main Muscles Recruited: Most major muscle groups

Begin standing tall, then squat down to the floor, hopping your legs back into a plank position. Hop your legs back beneath you, then spring up, clapping your arms above your head as your feet leave the floor. Repeat. Beginners: You can perform “walking burpees” by first stepping back one leg, then another, into a plank position. Return to standing by stepping both feet back beneath you, then repeat.

 


  1. Press Up:

Target Area: Upper Body

Main Muscles Recruited: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Begin in a plank position, hands under your shoulders with your body in a straight line from head to toe. Lower your chest to the ground, being careful to keep your elbows in and to not drop your hips. Push back up to a plank, then repeat. Beginners: You can do wall, chair, or countertop pushups. Simply extend the feet behind you as you would a regular pushup, lowering your chest toward the surface you’re elevated on.

 

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  1. Mountain Climbers:

Target Area: Full Body

Main Muscles Recruited: Most major muscle groups

Begin in a plank position with your hands beneath your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to toe. Engaging your core, draw in your right knee toward your chest, then extend it back to the starting position. Do the same with your left knee, and continue alternating knees. Beginners: You can modify this exercise by placing your hands on an elevated surface, such as a chair, and draw in your knees up to your chest.

  1. Walk Out Press Ups: 

Target Area: Full Body 

Main Muscles Recruited: Most major muscle groups, focus on Chest, Shoulders and Triceps with Press up

Begin standing tall. Reach for the floor and with your legs as straight as possible, crawl forward until you reach the plank position. Once in the plank position perform a press up (second on this list). Then crawl back up to a standing position, again keeping the legs as straight as possible. Repeat. Beginners: You can remove the press up from this movement to simplify the exercise or simply drop to your knees in order to perform a effective press up.

  1. Broad Jump:

Target Area: Lower Body 

Main Muscles Recruited: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calfs

Begin standing tall. Rapidly drop into a squat position, keeping your chest high and hips back. Explode from the squat position as fast as possible, extending the ankle, knee and hip. Leap horizontally as far as possible. When you land it is essential that you immediately drop into a squat (soft landing) to keep the exercise as safe as possible. Beginners: My variation for this exercise is to jump vertically rather than horizontally (squat jump)

  1. Plank Transitions: 

Target Area: Core

Main Muscles Recruited : Abdominals, Obliques

Begin holding the press up position (straight arm plank). Your back must be straight at all times and your hands should be below your chest. One arm at a time drop from your hands to your forearms whilst keeping your back straight and limiting any rotation at the hips. Beginners: Simply hold either a straight arm plank or forearm plank without adding the transitions.

Home Workout:

Here is a workout you can complete at home using these 6 exercises. No equipment and only a small amount of space is needed to complete these routine. 

Round 1: 

Burpee: 20 seconds 

Press Up: 20 seconds 

Mountain Climbers: 20 Seconds 

Rest: 30 seconds and Repeat 

Round 2:

Walk Out Press Up: 20 seconds 

Broad Jump: 20 seconds 

Plank Transitions: 20 seconds 

Rest: 30 Seconds and Repeat

Round 3:

All 6 Exercises back to back: 20 seconds work on each!

This workout only take you around 10 mins to complete so give it a try!!