Friday, May 11, 2018

Tips for more effective ab exercises


Churning out those crunches in the hope of getting a washboard-stomach? You need to read this first.


Toned abs don't just look great, they're also vital for good posture and avoiding lower back pain.
But there's a limit to how far the exercises, known as crunches, will go toward getting you those six-pack abs. These exercises create definition, but they won't get rid of belly fat, according to a report in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Working smarter
That goal needs the one-two punch of exercise to firm muscle and diet to reduce fat. That being said, crunches belong in a core workout – that's one that targets all the muscles in your torso.
When it comes to crunches, working smarter is more important than doing hundreds of them.
Improve your ab workout with these quick tips:
  • Increase the number of reps per set.
  • Increase the number of sets.
  • Shorten resting time between sets.
  • Increase the angle of exercises.
  • Wear ankles weights for more resistance.
  • Hold a weight plate against your chest.
Here are specific pointers to improve the effectiveness of the most popular exercises:
1. The basic crunch
For the basic crunch, lie on your back, knees slightly bent, feet flat on the floor and hip distance apart. Breathe in, then exhale as you tighten your abs and lift your head and shoulders toward the ceiling. Do not curl up toward your knees. Hold briefly, then slowly return to the starting position, inhaling as you lower yourself to the floor. Start with 10 reps done in good form – no jerking or rushing.

Monday, April 23, 2018

6 ways to train less and still get stronger


“I’m really disappointed in my performance today. I guess I need to train harder.”
If I had a rand for every time a rider I was working with uttered one of those phrases, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a brand new carbon fork and frame.
The answer to these crestfallen cyclists is rarely ever, “Yes, you should train harder.”
Many of them dig so deep, they’re already a few inches shy of six feet under, metaphorically speaking. Instead, what they really need to do is to train smarter.
Next time you think, “I need to do more,” consider that maybe that more is actually less, and try these six training strategies that are all but guaranteed to help you make gains.
Step 1: Take a rest day (or two) already!
Many of us (guilty as charged) get sucked into pushing ourselves too hard too often, because it feels good to go hard and blow off stress, whether you’re on your bike or in a CrossFit box or running on your favourite trails.
That is, until you start to feel flat and sluggish because you’re breaking your muscles down without ever giving them the proper and complete rest they need to build back up.
That’s not just bad for your bike performance; it’s bad for you.
In a study published earlier this year, Canadian researchers found that Olympic rowers had lower levels of bone-building protein in their blood and higher levels of inflammation during hard training blocks, compared to recovery periods, where they took days completely off.
Research has also found that successive intense workouts without a recovery break can lower your immunity.
When you’re riding hard and training lots, schedule one day off each week to recover.
Step 2: HIIT your max
I feel bionic. That was my exact thought while I was out doing an interval workout a few weeks ago. My legs felt fresh. I was hitting my max heart rate. I wanted to push as hard as I could and nail my workout – a sensation I hadn’t felt in a while. What made the difference?
I had taken a very easy week with two rest days the week before. That’s the magic of actually following Step 1; you have a full tank of gas and a head of steam for Step 2 – go really hard.
Sprint intervals are the quickest way to get strong and fit fast. They literally take almost no time – mere minutes (this is also a good way to psyche yourself up for doing them; remind yourself that they’re really short).
The key is going mad-dog frothing at the mouth hard for 10 to 40 seconds. Do six to eight efforts with about one to two minutes recovery in between to let your heart rate come down.
If done a couple times a week, this type of training raises your V02 max, lactate threshold, and levels of human growth hormone and testosterone, which help you build muscle and burn fat.
In a study of 22 trained cyclists, those who replaced part of their usual training with intervals for eight weeks improved their power output during a 40K time trial by nearly 8%, while the others saw no measurable gains.
Step 3: Lift (really heavy) things up and put them down
When I’m just riding lots, I feel pretty fit, but after a few months, I definitely feel a loss in torque and power. Intervals help. So does strength training – another scientifically proven way to get stronger and faster in less time.
Strength training especially benefits women and masters riders (who have less muscle mass to start or are at a point where lean muscle mass dwindles with the passing years), but it has been shown to produce gains for young riders, as well.
When Scandinavian researchers had a group of young elite riders swap in some heavy “leg days”, including moves like half squats for their usual endurance training once or twice a week for 25 weeks, they significantly improved their peak wattage during a 30-second sprint test, as well as their average wattage during a 40-minute all-out TT, compared to a group of their peers who stuck to their usual on-the-bike endurance training, despite the fact that the strength trainers actually spent a little less time training overall.

Yoga for children


Yoga is not just for adults; it is a great way to usher tiny tots into a healthy regimen. Yoga is a multifaceted subject. Aspects of yoga, when properly taught under a yoga practitioner, will provide children with sound physical and mental health and lead to balanced growth.
Children should first be taught asanas that correct anatomical defects and create flexibility. Having prepared the foundation properly, the teacher should proceed to teach complicated asanas that affect physiology and psychology of a child. Yoga asanas are not contortion of the body. Skill in the performance of yoga asana means correct placement of limbs and muscles in difference postures.

Physiological Importance of Yoga for Children

  • It improves circulation vital to proper functions of the body
  • It nourishes and stimulates the endocrinal gland which governs growth and development
  • It helps to establish regular and easy menstrual cycle
  • It enhances mental capacity
  • It strengthens the nervous system thereby improving endurance
  • It helps the child to become self-disciplined and self-controlled and less prone to extremities of behaviour
  • It regulates the adrenal glands, thus check aggressive behaviour
  • It regulates pituitary and pineal functions thus correcting brooding behaviour in girls
  • It checks lethargy
  • It builds self-confidence
  • It helps to develop moral, ethical character

Yoga Asana for Children

Standing Asana

  • This helps to improve the arches of feet
  • Helps to trim waist
  • Builds up chest

Sitting Asana (Vir Asana)

  • Corrects flat feet
  • Removes pain in legs
  • Ideal for sports people
  • Makes knee joints flexible
  • Helps in digestion

Forward Bending Asana (Paschim Motta Asana)

  • It invigorates abdominal organ, rests the heart, and refreshes the brain

Inverted Asana

  • Increases blood circulation to brain. Improves memory and will power and promotes growth

Supine Asana

  • It refreshes body and mind, keeps abdominal organs healthy

Prone Asana

  • Strengthens the back, hips, and thighs

Twisting Asana

  • Provides relief from stiff neck and sore back

Backward Bending

  • It corrects rounded back and shoulder, improves respiration, and removes dullness and laziness