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Working out with Knee Pain

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While exercise and movement are designed to energize you and make you feel great, aches and pains can occur from time to time. And, knees are among the most commonly affected areas of the body. No need for alarm, just follow the Stop, Drop, & Roll method to help shake it off and get back to work.

STOP:

If pain comes on during exercise, stop to assess.  Shake it out, give your quadriceps a little stretch, and resume the exercise slowly and with control.  If the pain persists, stop the movement you’re doing to cause the pain and move to something different.

For example, leave the exercises focused on the lower body (e.g. squats and lunges) and move to upper body (push-ups, pull-ups) or core focused (planks) exercises for the rest of the workout. Or, if you’re on the treadmill, switch to an upper body ergometer or even a recumbent bike might work.

Evaluate the pain in the moment and once you’re done with the workout. If the pain was sharp, is persistent, or you find you can’t put weight on your leg, it’s best to consult a doctor immediately and receive a professional opinion.

DROP:

If your knees are achy or you are coming back from knee pain, you’ll need to ease back into weight-bearing activities for your lower body or choose alternative activities to keep moving.

For your strength training, weighted squats or lunges (e.g. with machines, barbells or other weights), jump squats or lunges, or box jumps should be avoided until you are pain free. Instead, focus on body weight exercises; focus on performing exercises slowly and avoid fully straightening your knee at the top. Add in range of motion as you can tolerate.

If squats and lunges are still not agreeing with you, try plie squats, variations on the deadlift,  hip extensions, bridging, abduction or adduction (standing or lying) and monster walks.  This could be a great opportunity to work on the stabilizer muscles in the lower body to help you come back better than ever!

With cardio, you may to avoid high(er) impact exercise such as running. Instead try the stepper or stepmill, stationary or recumbent bikes, ellipticals or the ARC trainer. If taking classes, avoid quick directional changes and opt for lower impact options.

ROLL:

While you would want to consult a doctor or physical therapist to diagnose your knee issue and find its root cause, many times, knee pain can be traced back to overuse, strength discrepancies (front side of leg versus back side of the body), or tightness in the lower body. As always, avoid overtraining and take time to stretch after your workouts.

Foam Rolling is a great way to offset overuse injuries and help to ward off aches and pains. Rolling your IT band, adductor, glutes (figure 4), quadriceps, shin & calf both before and after your workouts will go a long way in preserving the integrity of your knees. Oh, and don’t forget about the bottom of your foot which is literally your foundation!  Grab a tennis ball and massage the bottom of your foot before starting a leg workout.

 

 

 

 

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Bored With Your Gym Routine? Sandbags Can Help!

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Chances are you’ve passed over the sandbags at your gym and I totally get it. If you haven’t used sandbags before, it can be difficult to understand how best you can incorporate them into your workout routine. I am here to change that! Sandbags are an awesome choice for improving both strength and coordination. Read on for all the info you need about how to use sandbags and why you should add them into your gym routine. 

When I think about what equipment I want to use with my clients I ask myself:

  • Is this an effective tool for developing strength and movement?
  • Does it meet my demands for functional training—meaning: does it improve the body’s ability to function efficiently on all planes and can I increase levels on complexity of time to stress the kinetic chain?
  • Do I have an understanding of how to use it and—more importantly—how to coach someone using it?

Sandbags are a great tool that hit on all my requirements. The sandbag, if used correctly, can increase inter-muscular coordination and encourages your body to reproduce correct movement patterns and form. Sandbags are particularly great for working on your holding position, body position, and planes of motion. 

Holds, Body Positioning, Planes of Motion and How They Work  

Holding position refers to how we progressively change how we hold the sandbag in efforts to change the stress applied to the body.  A barbell, for example, has four or five different positions while a sandbag has more than ten. When we change how we hold the sandbag, you exert more energy—making sandbags a fantastically efficient strength training tool.

Body positionrefers to how we stand when we lift the sandbag. Making slight changes to our body position can completely change how an exercise feels. Performing a clean in a staggered stance, for example, completely changes the exercise and how your body responds to it. 

Planes of motion are the dimensions in which our bodies move. There are three planes of motion: transverse, frontal and sagittal. Because we don’t move in a single dimension (it would be impossible!), we shouldn’t train that way. Introducing different ways to utilize your planes of motion works best by first resisting them with movements like shoulder squats, rotational lunges, and lateral drags like in DVRT Training.

Try fitting a few of these into your workouts:

Have you used the sandbags before? Are you willing to give them a shot after learning a bit more about them? Tell us in the comments!

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Sliders Deserve Your Attention in the Gym, Here’s Why

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Sliders, they don’t look like much, but when used properly they will light up your core and help you work muscles you didn’t even know you had. You may not think much of the circular, slippery discs but once you give them a try—you’ll understand the hype. Sliders have the potential to turn average exercise movements such as planks or lunges into super-charged, resistance-packed power moves. Sliders are also great because they aren’t bulky or expensive meaning you can easily keep a set at home so you can make healthy happen inside and outside the gym. If you’re new to sliders, read on and learn all the ways this slick gym accessory can up your workout game and challenge you to push yourself harder! 

What Do Sliders Do? 

Sliders, much like their name suggests, create slight instability that requires you to work harder to keep your balance and forces your whole body to stabilize you throughout the movement. When your body is working in overdrive to keep you upright, your muscles are firing on all cylinders, making an even greater impact on your workout than without. Think of a reverse lunge, they’re difficult—but you’re able to keep your balance fairly easily as you dip into the position. When you add a slider into the equation and glide back into the exercise, your core begins to power up to keep you aligned and your quads have to work even harder to get you back into standing position as you complete your lunge. Now imagine doing five sets of 10 reverse lunges with the gliders and you’ll have a good idea of how much of an impact those small, non-descript discs can make on a workout. 

How Can I Use Them? 

Sliders are awesome for many reasons, but their versatility is hard to beat. Because they can be used to modify traditional exercises—you can incorporate them into a myriad of workouts. Upper body, lower body, core—sliders can be used to strengthen every area of your body without strenuous impact as you glide rather than connect with the ground. They are a great addition for anybody no matter their fitness level.

Try 10 repetitions of the below circuit. Complete 2-3 rounds at your own pace with nothing but a set of sliders and medicine ball.

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Bodyweight Strength Training You Can Accomplish Anywhere

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Our mission is to help you make healthy happen all the time, and sometimes you just can’t make it into the gym. We get it! Busy schedules, kids, work, partners… the list goes on and on and sometimes making it into the gym gets cut first from the to-do list. When that happens, we want to equip you with workouts that can be done anywhere and don’t sacrifice intensity or effectiveness.

Enter: bodyweight workouts. Bodyweight workouts are workouts done utilizing, you guessed it, bodyweight in lieu of gym equipment. These workouts are the perfect solution for the can’t-make-it-to-the-gym blues as they can be done anywhere!

The exercises will mainly target the muscles that surround your knees, hips, and shoulder joints. These unilateral exercises will help you increase your muscular strength by using your bodyweight alone.

Even though this is just bodyweight strength training, you will feel muscles being used that you might not typically feel from a free weight or resistance machine exercise. Trust us, when you do the lateral lunges, you will feel it the next day! So, let’s get going with workout one. There’s no reason to wait!

Bodyweight Strength Workout 1

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps


Download Workout 1


Bodyweight Strength Workout 2

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps


Download Workout 2


Bodyweight Strength Workout 3

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps


Download Workout 3


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