Saturday, 31 January 2015

20-Minute Calorie-Burning HIIT Workout

With the holiday season in full swing and the hustle to get end-of-the-year projects complete, it’s easy to stray from our regular exercise habits. Who has time for exercise when we are shopping for presents, cooking for family, running errands, traveling and attending parties? You. You have time for exercise. If your regular routine of going to the gym is getting trumped by this busy time of the year, try a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that offers both fitness and calorie-burning benefits. Plus, you’ll work up a good stress-reducing sweat in a short amount of time.
High-intensity interval training features alternating bouts of all-out high-intensity exercise effort and short rest periods for a specific number of sets. These short, intense bursts of activity give you an incredible aerobic, anaerobic, strength and power workout all rolled into one. During a HIIT workout, your body metabolizes fat for fuel and after your workout your body will tap into fat stores for the energy. This makes HIIT one of the best ways to maximize caloric burn in a short amount of time. All you need is 15 to 30 minutes to reap all of these benefits of a HIIT workout.
No fitness equipment necessary for this 20-minute HIIT workout, but make sure you have water close by and a timer to keep track of the work/rest exercise intervals.
This workout includes two sets of three exercises repeated four times in row. Each exercise in the set is performed for 20 seconds followed by a one-minute rest. When set #1 is complete, move on to set #2.
HIIT workout
High Knee Running: Run in place, bringing your knees up toward your chest and pumping the arms as quickly as you can.
High knee running
Diagonal Jump-ups: Begin in lunge position, with your right foot forward and your body turned toward the upper-right-hand corner. Push through both feet, jump up and land in a lunge position with the left foot forward and your torso facing the upper-left-hand corner.
diagonal jump ups
Burpees: Squat and place both hands down on the floor. Jump or walk back to high-plank position and perform one push up. Jump or walk your feet back to the squat position and immediately jump up with arms overhead.
Ankle Touches: Run in place, turning your knees slightly outward, bringing the inside of the leg up toward the chest and reaching your hands to touch the inside of your ankles.
ankle touches
Squat Jumps: Lower down into a squat, swinging your arms back behind you. Immediately jump up, swinging your arms up toward the ceiling.
squat jumps
Push-up + Jump In/Out: Begin in quadruped position, with your hips over the knees and shoulders over the hands. Curl up onto the toes and lift the knees slightly off the floor. Jump or walk the legs back into high plank and perform one push up. Jump or walk the legs back into the elevated quadruped position.
push up
push up


Friday, 30 January 2015

TRX suspension training review

As a runner, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. So, when a friend told me I had to try TRX (total body resistance) suspension training, I wasn’t exactly quick to register for a class. Not because I was scared. Rather because I didn’t want to “waste” an hour of my precious time if I wasn’t going to get a good workout.
Well, I didn’t get a good workout from TRX – I got a great workout.
As soon as I walked into the studio I saw these long straps with two handles hanging from the ceiling. The instructor told me to grab onto the handles and face the “anchor point”. I didn’t know what an anchor point was, I started off holding the handles incorrectly, and as soon as we started our warm-up sequence, my muscles screamed. I was totally out of my element and had no idea how I’d survive an entire class. I loved every minute of it!
TRX basics
TRX suspension training is a form of strength training using suspended nylon ropes that allow you to work against your own body weight. TRX was developed by Navy Seals in 1990s who were looking to get a total body workout in a small space.
The TRX is a long piece of rope with two moveable handles on the end. The middle of the rope is securely attached to a structure so it doesn’t move – this is called the anchor point. To do the workout, you engage your core and do traditional strength training moves – like squats, rows, and planks – while holding onto the handles in different positions to target specific body parts. You increase and decrease the resistance by moving your body closer to and further away from the anchor point.
TRX can be done at home (using an at-home TRX kit similar to this one) or through a class at a gym or fitness studio taught by a certified instructor. The workout is completely customizable. There are specific classes for runners, baseball players, and seniors, just to name a few.
The benefits
Doing TRX regularly can strengthen your muscles, increase flexibility, improve balance, aid in weight loss, and boost your running performance. The workout is especially beneficial for the abs and back because all movements require the core muscles to be engaged. TRX training can also help ward off injuries by evening out muscle imbalances that occur from running.
Perhaps best of all, TRX training stops your body from plateauing. There are hundreds of exercises you can do, and you can take the intensity level up or down based on your fitness level – so your body is always guessing.
For instance, in my class, we started with a regular squat. Then we moved on to one-legged squats and eventually a one-legged squat with a jump (I could only make it through a handful of reps of the latter – talk about tough). We also did planks with our feet secured in the handles. At first, we faced away from the anchor point – and the planks were challenging but doable. But then we turned towards our anchor point, and I couldn’t even hold the plank for more than a couple of seconds.
Any TRX fans out there? I’ll definitely be back – I was sore for three days after my first class!



Thursday, 29 January 2015

What are the benefits of weight lifting for woman?

So many woman truly do not understand the positive impact weight lifting can have when introduced into their training. By adding weight lifting into your exercise routine, you’ll be able to feel and see the benefits quickly, by losing weight, gaining muscle, and toning and sculpting until you get the body you’ve always wanted.

Most people shy away from weight lifting because they are afraid they will bulk up and appear too masculine. This is simply not the case, although I do understand some females out there do build muscle very quickly and are afraid of weight training for that reason, it all comes down to what type of weight lifting you are doing. *If you are one of those people that builds muscle quickly ask your trainer directly how you can transform that amazing muscle into lean and toned muscle.
Adding weight lifting into your exercise routine can help dramatically increase your metabolism, tone and sculpt your body and strengthen your bones. It can also help you lose weight faster, this is because the more muscle you build the more calories you lose throughout the day even when you are resting. To put it bluntly woman who lift weights burn more calories than woman who don’t. What more motivation do you need!
Here’s a list of all the benefits to encourage you to get started!
You will lose body fat – Weight lifting helps with weight loss because the more lean muscle a woman has, the more calories she burns. Strength training increases your metabolic rate by increasing the calories you burn on a daily basis. The more calories you burn, the more chance you have to drop body fat.
You will be physically stronger – Being stronger can benefit in many ways, day to day activities will become easier.Lifting your kids, doing the groceries or lifting heavy objects will become easier and you will be far less likely to injure yourself. Through weight training you can expect substantial increase in your strength. Quality of life is better because you can perform activities with more ease and less pain.
Your mood will be improved, and it can fight depression – Weight training can make you feel more confident and capable. It can also significantly improve a person’s mood.
Injury prevention – Strength training strengthens our muscles and tendons. The stronger we are the less chance we have of an injury. This is especially important as we grow older. Strengthening the muscles around our joints is one of the best ways to prevent and recover from injury. For example: The best way to recover from a knee injury is to strengthen the quads and calves. I have also seen lots of study proving that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and weight training can also increase spinal bone mineral density. This coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium can be a woman’s best defense against osteoporosis.
You will reduce your risk of diabetes – Weight training can improve the way the body processes sugar which reduces the risk of diabetes.
I hope I have encouraged some of you ladies out there to push past your insecurities of weight training and decide to try it out and reap the benefits.
Please remember that before you start your weight lifting routine make sure you are taught on proper lifting techniques. Ask a professional at the gym to show you the proper technique so you’re lifting the right way. If your using free weights, make sure you’re using weights that are appropriate for you.


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

7 DIY Tools for Reaching Your Health Goals

woman listening to music
As much as I would love to be able to train in the gym twice a day with my workout partner, have someone prepare all of my meals, and always be motivated to eat perfectly, not miss a workout and get in eight hours of sleep—I know that is not reality. We are capable of reaching our health goals, and support makes that process more likely to happen. Realistically, support from others might not be there every step of the way, but there are ways you can support yourself. Here are seven do-it-yourself tools that can assist you on your quest for achieving your health goals.
1. Apps
There is an increasing array of health-related smartphone applications that can help you reach your goals. From tracking food to finding a workout, just about every avenue of health-related applications are out there, and they continue to evolve. Using a fitness app makes tracking progress simple and easy. One of the advantages to using an app is the ability to tailor it to your individual goals, calculate information and provide feedback on your behaviors.
2. Activity Monitors
Wearing an activity monitor is one of my favorite tools for reaching my health goals. Personally, I wear a Fitbit Flex, but there are other great activity monitors out there such as the Jawbone, Garmin, Nike Fuelband and the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch. Activity monitors are like your own personal health coach—they provide instant feedback and quantitative data, and help increase motivation. I can check my FitBit app on my phone to see how many steps I have taken, how many calories I have burn and how my sleep was the night before. Having an idea of how much I have moved (or not moved) during a given day motivates me to reach my steps-per-day goal.
3. Journal
A journal can serve as your map for reaching your health goals, because it provides a sense of direction and a foundation upon which to build. Specifically, I like using a journal to track my weight-training workouts. It is easy to forget what weight was used or the number of sets or repetitions completed if you don’t record them. Writing down workouts provides an easy way to refer back to previous workouts and creates an opportunity for improvement week to week.
4. Calendar
By committing to your workouts in the same way you commit to attending scheduled meetings at work, you can be sure to stay on track with your goals. Whether it’s a Google calendar or a paper one, spend time at the beginning of the week outlining what and when you will be doing for workouts. If you are working on weight-loss goals, pick a day to weigh in and commit to it on the calendar. Doing so serves as a reminder as well as an accountability tool.
5. Scale
As “scary” as scales may be for some of us, the reality is they are just numbers. Whether it is maintaining, losing or even gaining weight, a scale can be used as a monitoring tool. While the scale is not the ultimate guide, but most people don’t have access to tools that accurately measure body composition on a weekly or monthly basis. Instead, the scale can be used as a way to measure progress. If it provides a value that isn’t satisfactory, health behaviors need to be assessed.
6. Reminders
Magazine pictures, progress photographs, inspirational quotes and affirmations are all great ways to motivate and inspire. I write affirmations on my bathroom mirror, have a chalkboard by my desk with goals, and have inspirational quotations on my desk at work. Despite the stress and challenges of day to day life, these reminders keep me focused and motivated. Whether it’s at work, on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror, or in the car, consider placing reminders of your health goals in places that you look at frequently.
7. Mindset
Although listed last, this by far is the most important tool you can invest in when it comes to reaching your health goals. By cultivating a positive attitude and being able to adapt to situations, you are more likely to get on track when pulled off course. An all-or-nothing mindset is the last thing anyone needs when working toward any goal. Make it a point to commit to a positive mindset and you will far surpass your goals!


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Running For Fitness: Top Running Health Plans

Where was the last place you ran to?  Running is easily overlooked as a boring, run of the mill, or repetitive type of exercise.  However, a lot of people are not aware that they could add anywhere between 10 to 15 years to their lives by simply running for fitness.
Running not only helps strengthen your legs, develop your muscles, and keep your body looking lean and tone, but it also helps relieve stress and can improve your focus throughout the day.  If you are eager to reap the benefits that running has to offer, let’s take a look at how you can start running for fitness in 4 simple steps.
Get fit and toned with the “Muscle-up Fitness” course today!

Step 1:  Go Outside and Run

running for fitness
This might seem simple, but a lot of people fall short when it comes to running because they are not motivated enough to get outside and begin.  Start running by simply putting on a pair of running shoes and hitting the pavement.  If you are a running beginner, the repetitive motion of running might seem a little strange for your body at first.  However, keep at it and soon enough your muscles will start to spring into action.
  • Form:  When you begin running for fitness, take note of your running form.  Try to keep your body loose and run in a way that feels natural to you.  Make sure that you pick your feet up high enough off the ground and relax your upper body.
  • Breathe:  The right form of breathing is important in any kind of exercise, and also when you are running.  Breathe as naturally as possible: inhale oxygen through the nose, fully expanding your lungs, and exhaling through a widely opened mouth.
  • Stretch:  Remember to stretch as soon as you finish running and get home.  Stretch out each muscle group for about 15 to 20 seconds if you can.


Step 2:  Develop a Routine

While running for fitness, you are going to want to aim to run at least 3 days a week.  This will help you build endurance and space out any recovery time that you have to help your muscles and body develop.
  • Extend your time:  As you get more comfortable with your routine of running 3 days a week, push yourself to run further and longer.  For example, if you ran 10 minutes for the first week, then go ahead and try to bump it up to 15 minutes the second week.  The more you increase your running time, the easier it will be for you to run longer without stopping.
  • Switch it up:  We will admit that running can get boring overtime, especially if you are running the same track or route, and you can get easily burned out.  To add some spice and adventure to your usual running routine, try to run down a route that you have never been on before. Or, try to incorporate some other exercises in between your running.
To fit kickboxing into your exercise routine, enroll in this extreme kickboxing course.

Step 3:  Running for Fitness

After you develop a routine for your running, you will be able to advance your level of fitness when it comes to running.  You can go about this by taking these simple steps that will help you develop as a runner and an athlete.
  • Purchase good shoes:  Even if you do not run regularly, you have probably noticed that there are a good amount of running shoes available on the market.  There is no one right shoe for each person; and you will have to see which shoe works best for you.
  • Get a running partner:  Running by yourself can get boring, and running with other runners will give you some motivation and make running more fun by making a group activity out of it.  You will be able to find running groups that are solely for recreation, or composed of runners who are training for a race.

Step 4:  Train for a Race

running for fitness
Of course this step is optional, but once you have the running basics under your belt, you can consider training for a race.  Training for a race will help boost your fitness levels, as well keep your motivation levels high.  With racing, once you complete a race, there is a good chance that you are going to want to do another one: racing can be addicting!  Here is a sample racing plan that you can use to train for a 5K race.  A 5K race is just a bit over 3 miles.  This plan follows a weekly schedule 3 days a week for 2 months of training.
Week 1:  Brisk five-minute walk to warm-up.  Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.
Week 2:  Brisk five-minute walk to warm-up.  Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for the span of 20 minutes.
Week 3:  Brisk five-minute walk to warm-up, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards / 180 meters (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards / 180 meters (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards / 365 meters (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards / 365 meters (or 3 minutes)
  • Week 4: Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile / 400 meters (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile / 200 meters (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile / 800 meters (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile / 400 meters (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile / 400 meters (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile / 200 meters (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile / 800 meters (or 5 minutes)
Week 5:
  1. Brisk 5 minute walk to warm-up walk.
  2. Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  3. Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  4. Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  5. Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  6. Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  7. Workout 2: Brisk five-minute warm-up walk, then:
  8. Jog 3/4 mile / 1200 meters (or 8 minutes)
  9. Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  10. Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Week 6:
  1. Brisk five-minute warm-up walk.  Then:
  2. Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  3. Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  4. Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  5. Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  6. Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  7. Workout 2: Brisk five-minute warm-up walk, then:
  8. Jog 1 mile /1600 meters(or 10 minutes)
  9. Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  10. Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Week 7: Brisk five-minute walk to warm-up, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
Week 8: Brisk five-minute walk to warm-up, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
Week 9: Brisk five-minute walk to warm-up, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

Run For Fitness

Your own running for fitness program can be as personalized as you want it to be.  To get into the groove of running takes persistence and patience, but if you follow the above steps, you will start building up endurance, stamina, and motivation for running in no time.


Monday, 26 January 2015

6 Exercise Swaps for a More Effective Workout

One of the most common ways to learn how to exercise in a gym is by watching others go through their workouts. I’m sure most of us, at one time or another, have tried an exercise after watching someone else perform the movement. But just because someone with a buff body is doing an exercise does not mean that particular exercise is effective. In fact, there are many exercises that seem to be producing a desired outcome, yet aren’t really creating a beneficial physiological response. If you’re doing certain exercises because you saw other gym goers do them, you might want to consider trying these exercises instead: 

If you want to work your chest…
Instead of This: Standing Chest Flys With Dumbbells
standing chest flys
Do This: Lying Flys 
lying flys
When the goal is to strengthen the chest muscles, the load should be placed directly into the pectoralis major and minor, as is the case with push-ups, the bench press, pec-deck machine, or flys with dumbbells or cables. This is because the pull of resistance is lined up directly with the muscles, so when they shorten they are generating the greatest amount of force to move the shoulder joint. When doing chest flys while standing and holding dumbbells, the deltoid muscles of the shoulder are doing most of the work, while the pectoralis major or minor act as secondary muscles, which makes it more of a shoulder exercise than a chest exercise. If an instructor has you doing this exercise and says it’s for your shoulders, however, that’s fine.

If you want to work your glutes… 
Instead of This: Wall Sit 
wall sit
Do This: Glute Bridge
glute bridge
The purpose of squats is to strengthen and tone the muscles of the butt, thighs and hips. The most effective way to strengthen a muscle and develop definition is to take it through a full range of motion (ROM), which includes lengthening as well as shortening the involved muscle fibers. During a wall sit, an exercise featuring an isometric (non-moving) contraction, muscles are shortening, but they are not making the transition from lengthening to shortening because only a finite amount of muscle fibers are engaged. Compare that to an exercise like a regular squat where the muscles transition from lengthening to shortening through a complete ROM, which covers much more distance and allows more work to be completed. A wall sit makes you feel like your muscles are burning, but that is because they are holding static, non-moving contractions. The actual strength benefits, however, are minimal. The glute bridge is a better option because they take the hips through a full ROM. The benefit of lying on the ground is that it focuses the work on the hip extensor muscles of the glutes, hamstrings and adductors. 

If you want to work your inner thighs… 
Instead of This: Plié Squats 
plie squats
Do This: Lunges 
Plié squats are often done to create the perception of working the adductor muscles of the inner thigh. When the feet are in a plié position, the hips are in external rotation, which does lengthen the adductor muscles of the inner thigh. Holding this position tricks you into feeling your inner thigh because those muscles are being stretched during the motion. However, just because you feel a stretch doesn’t mean those muscles are doing more work. Understanding how a muscle works during gait can help us determine the best way to train that muscle with exercise. The adductor muscles of the inner thigh are responsible for creating hip flexion and extension during gait. They can bring the leg closer to the midline of the body (adduction), but should be trained with exercises that emphasize extension and flexion of the hip to help prepare the muscles for the forces they experience during normal movement patterns. Plié squats won’t necessarily increase your risk of injury, but they don’t provide the best option for training the adductor muscles. Don’t be fooled—if you really want to strengthen and tone your inner thigh muscles, do single leg step-ups, lunges or single-leg squats to engage all of the hip muscles.  

If you want to work your inner and outer thighs…
Instead of This: Lying Inner/Outer Thigh Leg Lifts 
inner thigh raises
outer thigh lifts
Do This: Ice Skaters 
ice skaters
Lying on your side and lifting your legs off of the ground can help you feel like you’re using the muscles of the inner and outer thigh, but this is not the case. Again, we need to understand how these muscles actually function during gait to determine the most effective way to use them during exercise. Traditional anatomy teaches that the muscles of the outer thigh work to move the leg away from the midline of the body. However, during the gait cycle the muscles that move the leg away from the body actually work to stabilize the body when you’re standing on one leg. For example, when you’re walking, your right outer-thigh muscles stabilize your body when you are balancing on your right leg and your left leg is swinging through the air. The most effective way to strengthen your outer-thigh muscles is to do single-leg exercises like step-ups, lunges or ice-skater (lateral) bounds. While leg lifts are unlikely to cause an injury, they are not the best use of your limited exercise time. 

If you want to work your abs… 
Instead of This: Frog Leg Crunch 
frog leg crunches
Do This: Medicine Ball Chops 
medicine ball chop
The idea behind frog-leg crunches is that placing the hips in an abducted position (with the upper thighs and knees touching the floor) will recruit the lower abs. The standard crunch involves using the abdominal muscles to roll the rib cage toward the pelvis, which can strengthen these muscles, but does not train them the way they are actually used during upright movement patterns. If your ab muscles were really responsible for flexing your spine, you would walk around bending forward every time your foot hit the ground. During gait, the six-pack muscle of the rectus abdominis is involved in decelerating the anterior (forward) rotation of the pelvis, while the external obliques are responsible for assisting with rotation of the trunk. While lying on the floor to train the abs can create the perception of muscle involvement and can be useful for individuals training for specific appearance-based goals, if you want to train your body the way it was actually designed to function, then consider training your core from a standing position. Medicine ball chops, for example, involve the muscles of the hips, thighs, back and shoulder, which can all be considered core muscles because of their attachments to the spine and pelvis. Start with the medicine ball near the right hip, sink into a quarter squat, and then use the hips and arms together to push the ball overhead before bringing it down to the left hip; alternate from side to side. 

If you want to work your calves… 
Instead of This: Toe Raises 
toe raises
Do This: The Heisman 
the heisman
Standard toe raises are great for strengthening and toning the calves because this exercise focuses on the concentric action of muscle shortening, which can increase size and definition. However, the function of the calf muscles during dynamic movements such as walking, running or jumping is to help decelerate the force of the body hitting the ground. As a result, the calves can experience extremely large lengthening forces. This means that exercises that focus on the shortening action of the muscles do not adequately prepare the muscles for the forces they frequently experience. Toe raises can make a calf stronger, but this exercise also increases muscle tightness, which can be a liability during explosive movements when the calves are required to rapidly lengthen as the foot hits the ground. In addition, people who wear shoes with an elevated heel keep their calves in a shortened position all day. Doing additional exercises to shorten the muscle could lead to a muscle imbalance along with potential knee or hip soreness. If you want to strengthen and tone your calves, adding sprints or agility drills to your workouts, such as the Heisman, are better options. 
If you only have a limited amount of time to exercise, it’s worth taking the time to take a close look at your exercise selection and focus on the ones that will provide the greatest benefits. If you have any questions about how to perform these exercises, consider investing in a few training sessions with an ACE Certified Personal Trainer who can provide the guidance you need to meet your fitness goals in the shortest amount of time possible. 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Yoga Online: How to Do Yoga Exercises Online

yoga onlineWe all have busy lives, and trying to factor in a workout or an exercise after an 8-hour workday, errands, and meal prepping can be a tough commitment to make.  However, there are plenty of sites online and courses that you can sign up for via the internet to make practicing yoga online convenient and flexible.
Here at Udemywe offer a plethora of yoga courses taught by professional yoga instructors and yogis.  Read on for a list of other helpful sites, as well as how you can make learning yoga online work for you.

How to Do Yoga Online: From a Website

  1. Search on Google for any site that will show you how to practice the basics of yoga.  There are plenty of online guides that will answer any of your questions regarding how to start learning yoga remotely.
  2. Find a website that has visuals or images of each of the basic yoga poses for the yoga technique that you want to master.  The images will help give you a visual representation of how your yoga pose should look.  It will also be easier for you to recreate at home without an instructor.
  3. Read through the directions for each pose so that you are aware of all the steps in a pose.
  4. Stand in front of a mirror and have your computer next to you.
  5. Do the yoga poses in front of the mirror and compare yourself to the online photos at the same time.  This will help ensure that you are completing the pose correctly.

How to Do Yoga Online: From an Online Video

  1. Find a website that offers online yoga classes, such as this one.  There are probably some free options available.  However, member fees and registration will likely apply once you start to sign up.  Yoga classes offered online are generally going to be cheaper and more affordable than attending any in-person class.
  2. Once you register for a class, download the video or audio that you will need to use or practice with for your class.  Most of the videos will be available to use on an Mp3 player or other portable device to make it easy to practice your yoga anywhere you like.
  3. Being watching the video.  Watch it through the entire time without actually doing the poses.  This is going to help you get an idea of what you will do throughout the duration of the class.  This can also help prevent you having to stop and rewind the video in case of any confusion.
  4. Now you can start doing your yoga routine and poses.  If you need to, skip over certain portions of the video to make the routine more streamlined and to your liking.  You can also choose to mix up different poses that you want to practice more than others, and omit certain ones that do not fit your style.
  5. Once you have mastered that certain routine or class, enroll in another one or download a new video.  The freedom and fun of doing yoga online means that you can try different forms, techniques, and classes all in the comfort of your own home without sticking or committing to a certain technique.  Feel free to mix and match at your choosing.
Top 8 Yoga Online Sites
    yoga online
  1. offers a wide variety of yoga courses, from prenatal yoga to yoga for weight loss – there are different kinds of yoga classes to choose from to fit your needs and style.  All courses are taught by certified instructors or professionals in their field.  Udemy also offers numerous posts that will detail in writing how to do different forms of yoga.
  2. YogaJournal Yoga journal offers a big collection of articles pertaining to yoga that include home practices and detailed poses and instructions to go along with them.  Browse through the website and you will find details about the yoga lifestyle and practice.
  3. YourBuddhi:  YourBuddhi provides a fun and hip environment to learn yoga.  You will be taught by Carolina Vivas and Amanda McCarroll who believe that you can achieve anything when yoga and meditation are involved.
  4. MyYogaWorks Online:  This site follows a popular yoga chain, YogaWorks, and brings their yoga teaching and styles into your own home.  Their courses range from 5 to 90 minutes and start at a beginner level and work their way up to more intermediate classes.  MyYogaWorks classes are all run by their company’s top yoga teachers and professional in the yoga field.
  5. Yoga International:  Yoga international is new to the online yoga science, but their website offers a full user experience with a large variety of different online yoga classes.  For instance, they offer restorative yoga, healing yoga, and ayurveda yoga for both morning and night meditation and practice.  They also incorporate different types of yoga news in the form of meditation, food, and health topics on their site.
  6. Yogis Anonymous:  Yogis anonymous is taught from a studio in Santa Monica California that features different yoga classes online for yogis that are interested to take them from around the world.
  7. Yoga Download:  Yoga download is a site that allows users to purchase certain classes individually or pay for unlimited classes.  There are different varieties of classes; ranging from cardio yoga to Qi yoga.  For user convenience, you are allowed to preview any of your classes before you decide to buy or participate.  They also offer pose guides, music, and specific yoga channels to work with.
  8. YogaGlo:  For “Everyone’s yoga”, YogaGlo offers a wide variety of yoga options to choose from for an interactive and personalized yoga experience for your taste.  There also offer special classes for beginners, women, and yogis who are cyclists. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

How to Rebuild Your Workout

push up
Starting over. Whether you’ve had a layoff from exercise or have been doing it consistently but not seeing results, it might be time to change things up, but in some surprising ways.
Here’s what you need to know:
-Do what you do the least of a little bit more often.
-Never do anything that is boring or unappealing.
-Make movement the foundation for exercise.
-A “plane” workout is a good workout.

Do a Bit More Of…
…whatever you do less of. Why? In general, life gets easier if you can handle heavy objects and move quickly when life makes you. When we aren’t exercising or our workouts feel stale, we tend to do what we have always done out of habit. And this means we will be less likely to do the things we don’t do as often. Heavy is relative to each individual, so try lifting heavier in a way that makes you pay attention to the weight, as this will engage your mind.
Or maybe it’s better to move quickly on some exercises while using less weight. Again, speed and complexity are relative to each individual, so lifting heavy or moving quickly does not equal dangerous.
All you need is a couple days per week each of moving quickly and lifting heavy things. In a short time you will feel more capable and confident as you move your body.

Never Be Bored
Never do exercise if you don’t feel like it. And if that feeling never leaves, then find a type of exercise you are drawn to. If all else fails, it might be time to adjust your mindset.
I don’t want anyone doing any form of exercise they don’t enjoy because they feel like they should. This is a terrible approach and destined to fail. Think about anything you do only because you “should.” You never enjoy it because it carries the weight of obligation. If you hate it, you’ll never work hard enough to have success with it.
There is enough variety in the various forms of physical activity to find something you enjoy. No human is born to hate physical activity—all kids like to move to some degree or another—so there’s something out there for you. If you’re feeling stuck doing stuff you don’t like, stop. Keep trying until you find something you really enjoy.

Exercise Like You Move
Humans sit, stand, walk, pick things up, put them down and do it all over again many times a day. Sitting is moving in a relatively parallel foot stance, walking is an asymmetrical and single-leg activity, and all day long we push, pull and rotate things in our world with our upper body and torso.
These five primary movements, when used to also form the foundation of your exercise choice, mean that the exercises you do in a workout program will make you better at life. And when you start to notice how the movements in your exercise program carry over into your daily life, it makes you pay more attention to your body as it moves all the time—and this makes your workouts better. Why? Because as you move more mindfully, your movements get better and you also get more “practice” doing the same movements you do in your workout.
Fitness is what happens when you take high-quality, efficient movement and turn it up to an intensity that causes the body to make itself fitter.

Plane is Good
We move in three planes. Everything in the physical world moves in some combinations of three possible directions. Walking forward is one plane (sagittal), walking sideways like a crab is another (frontal), and rotating or twisting is another (transverse).
Most common exercises require us to move in the direction we are most familiar with—the sagittal plane. But life is a 360-degree experience, often requiring you to move in many different directions. When you’re doing housework, playing with your kids, walking your dog or just trying to not fall if you slip on something, you’re going to have to be good at moving in all directions, not just the ones that the machines and most common exercises train.
Here’s a helpful table you can fill in to make sure you’re including your movements in all directions, with different ways of challenging yourself. A single exercise might have motion in more than one plane and might qualify for more than one movement category.
Workout routine
For any workout, pick six to eight exercises and perform two to four sets based on your available time, goals and current fitness level. In general, with the “Heavy” sets, keep the reps lower (below 10); for the “Fast” sets, keep the reps between 10 and 20.
There is no need to mark every single box with an “X” in the table. Just fill in most of the columns with at least one exercise and your workout will likely be well rounded. And with the mix of fast/light and slow/heavy movements, the pace of the exercises will keep you engaged.
Exercise is too much fun—and far too valuable—to let it be boring and not deliver results. Rebuild your workout to ensure you do all the things humans do in all the ways humans do them.


Friday, 23 January 2015

4 Core Movements for Beginners

Are you just getting started with a fitness routine and aren’t sure how to train your core? Here are a few basic core movements for beginners, with advanced options that can be done once you’ve mastered the basic exercises.

Modified Plank
Modified plank

Lie on your stomach on an exercise mat or floor with your elbows close to your sides and directly under your shoulders, palms down and fingers facing forward. Engage your abdominal/core muscles. It should feel like you are tightening a corset around your ribs, waist and lower torso.
Once your core is engaged, slowly lift your torso and the upper part of your thighs off of the mat, while the knees remain on the floor. Do not allow the lower back to sag or the hips to lift up in the air. Your shoulders should remain away from the ears. If wrist pain is an issue, drop to your elbows. Try holding this position a couple of times while continuing to breathe and maintain good form.
Try this position before moving into a full plank so you understand the concept of how to engage your core. This will also give you a sense of how strong your arms are as you hold yourself up in a plank position.
Advanced: Begin in full plank position and place a small weightless ball under your rib cage. This will keep your body position accountable while you attempt to lift the opposite leg and arm simultaneously; repeat on the other side.

Modified Side Plank
Modified side plank

Lie on your side with your knees bent and stacked on each other; do your best to keep a straight line from the top of your head to your knees. Engage your core muscles (as discussed in the plank exercise) and slowly lift your torso, supporting yourself with your forearm directly under your shoulder.
Try this position before moving into a full side plank so you understand the concept of how to engage your core. This will also give you a sense of how strong your arms are as you hold yourself up in a plank position.
Advanced: Do a forearm plank with your legs on top of a stability ball. One leg at a time, drive your knee into the stability ball to make the surface unstable.

Reverse Crunch
reverse crunch

Lie on you back with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your core muscles engaged. Place your arms out to the side with palms facing down. Keep your knees directly above the hips at 90 degrees and slowly drop your legs toward the floor. Once you feel loss of core control and/or your back start to arch, bring the legs back to the starting position and repeat the exercise. Do not move your upper body or your head during this exercise. Depending on your level of core strength, this movement could be very small. The stronger your core becomes, the lower you will be able to drop your legs.
Advanced: Lie on your back with your legs at 90 degrees and place a small weightless ball on your shins. Do not hold the ball with your legs or let it sink down toward your ankles. Lift your torso up off the ground and twist to the right and the left.

Bird Dog
bird dog

Place a mat on the floor and come on to all fours with your hands and knees on the ground. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders (fingers facing forward) and your knees should be underneath your hips. Keep a straight line from the top of the head to the hips and engage your core as you extend the opposite arm and leg simultaneously. Place your hand and knee back on the ground and repeat the extension movement on the same side. To protect the lower back, don’t allow the arms and legs to extend up past hip height. Always keep your core engaged and your spine in a neutral position. Once you have completed one side, move to the other side, keeping your movements as controlled and fluid as possible.

Advanced: Continue with the same movement, but abduct the arm and leg (moving it away from the midline of the body) while trying to remain balanced.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

How to Stay Motivated When You Don't See Results

The discouragement of failing to witness noticeable results from countless hours of rigorous workout activity might cause you to rethink whether the daily exercise grind is actually worth it. The feel-good concept of working out to improve your overall health and well-being may be satisfactory on the surface, but copious amounts of pain without any gain can cripple your motivation. It's important to remember why you decided to alter your lifestyle to begin with, though, even if you don't see quick results.

Keep Calm
There's no doubt that it takes several weeks for your results to pop in the mirror. Some people are able to gain noticeable results faster than others, but that shouldn't deter you from exercising at least three or four times per week. It's important to keep your ultimate goal in mind and remember that you're not going to suddenly become sculpted overnight, or over the course of a month, for that matter.

Challenge Yourself

It's not a simple feat to overcome discouragement, but it is possible to internalize those harsh feelings and transform a negative, can't-do attitude. If you're feeling unsatisfied with the hard work you've committed to, challenge yourself by increasing the intensity of each workout. You can accomplish this by decreasing rest time in between sets, which has been scientifically tested to improve your endurance and increase your body's natural ability to burn fat. For high-intensity workout purposes, rest for just 30 to 45 seconds in between sets.

Visualize Success

Even though it might seem cliché and somewhat silly, visualizing your goals can help keep you motivated. Regardless of whether your goal is to burn off enough flab to flaunt washboard abs at the beach, or slim down to squeeze into your high school prom dress, visualizing your moment can help you achieve what might currently seem impossible. Do what you can to fend off brief moments of discouragement by remembering why you became an avid workout enthusiast to begin with.

Ignore Negativity
The process of visualization should help you conquer negative thoughts that creep into your mind, but it's also important to tune-out family members and friends who have a tendency to induce negativity or invoke poor decisions. Even though it might be tempting to skip the gym for an extended happy hour with your friends after a rough day at the office, you need to remain resilient and think of the potential consequences. A couple of drinks have the potential to increase your food cravings, which can lead to poor dietary decisions and stall your progress.

Don't Give Up!
As simple as it might seem, giving up on your goal won't fuel your passion or diminish your discouragement. If maintaining a trimmed down figure was easy to do, obesity wouldn't be at the root of many health concerns in the United States. You have the opportunity to not only change your lifestyle by exercising regularly, but also achieve high-quality health. Anything that is difficult to accomplish is worth doing, no matter how discouraging it might be. Even if you don't see results today, remember that each workout pushes you one day closer to reaching your moment of visualization.


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Kick(box) the Fat Off with This 30 Minute Uptempo Home Cardio Workout

kickbox cardio workout
One of the best way to continue stripping away that fat and getting yourself closer to the body of your dreams is incorporating different types of cardio exercise to your overall fitness program.  We often get so hung up on HIIT cardio, that we forget that are actually other ways of burning calories out there – who would have thought?  After all, HIIT cardio is great, but if that’s all you’re doing, it can get a little repetitive, I admit. Not only that, when you perform the same type of exercise day in, day out, your body grows more efficient at completing that type of work.
So if you’ve been hitting the HIIT sprints hard in an effort to burn fat and lose some weight, it may be time to reconsider that plan.  Most people know this is true for strength training, but far fewer realize your body will grow accustomed to the type of cardio you’ve been doing.  Just like switching up your exercises, weights, and reps/sets, you’ve absolutely got to switch up the way in which you’re doing your cardio.  Today, we give you a great 30 minute cardio kickbox class, led by one of our favorite trainers, Gwen.

Why Cardio Kickbox Will Help You Burn Fat

This fat burning workout is fantastic for helping cut calories fast, while building and sculpting lean muscle in your legs, core, and upper body.  The plyometric nature of many of the punch/kick combos is going to provide a nice break from routine for many of you.  If incorporated into your plan regularly, this break from routine should be enough to help you get past that plateau you’ve been on, and turn back on your inner fat burning machine.
Today’s class is especially perfect, because it can easily be doubled and turned into almost an hour’s worth of uptempo cardiovascular work, simply by running through the entire routine twice, circuit style.  Gwen makes sure to hit all the major areas of your body while seamlessly flowing through this routine, making it one of the most popular kickboxing classes we offer.
So instead of checking out the group fitness class schedule at your gym, give yourself a little break, and pop this video on your computer or TV.  Led just the way you’d find a kickboxing class led in a gym or studio, Gwen’s cardio kickbox class is going to tear you up, cut your fat, and leave you one hot, sweaty, mess.

A Cardio Workout for Bad Joints

Kickboxing is also especially great for those of you with bad joints, living in apartments with less than understanding downstairs neighbors, or pretty much anyone who otherwise don’t want to run or jump.  The routine is uptempo enough to push your heart rate into the calorie killing zone, but doesn’t require any of the standard running/jumping that traditional cardio often incorporates.
So for the many of you who often ask for cardio/fat burning workouts that can be done without excessive pounding on your ankles, knees, hips…..cardio kickboxing with Gwen is the answer.  Just match Gwen’s pace, mirror her movements, and try to limit your rest breaks, and you’re pretty much guaranteeing yourself one amazing workout!
So take 30 minutes (or an hour if you’re especially motivated) and hit up this cardio kickbox class.  Burn calories, workout from home today, have some fun…this is what exercise SHOULD be all about.  If you’ve got any questions, comments, or suggestions for additional classes you’d like to see, feel free to leave a comment or give us a holler on the website.  And if this class isn’t enough to wear you out, feel free to browse through the rest of our free OnDemand fitness classes – with hundreds to choose from, you’ll be covered no matter what your workout style is!


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

4 Lower-body Movements for Beginners

If you’re just getting started with a fitness routine, it can be a challenge to know how to properly perform exercises for the various muscles of the body. Here are four introductory lower-body movements for beginners, with advanced options that can be done once you’ve mastered the basic exercises.

Static-stance Lunge
static stance lunge

Stand with your feet together, shoulders pulled down and away from the ears, and your core engaged. Step forward with one foot and find your balance. Your feet should be far enough apart so that when you go down into the lunge position, your knee is facing directly forward and not going over your toe. If you don’t have enough balance for this exercise, stand by a wall or hold on to a stable chair. Keep your torso erect by continuing to engage your core (don’t lean forward). Drive your hips toward the floor, controlling the movement until your thighs become parallel with the floor. Push with the front leg to come back to the top of the lunge and repeat.
Advanced: Perform an alternating plyometric lunge. After doing one lunge, add a hop before moving into the next one, switching the lead leg each time.


Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Engage the core and lift the chest. Look straight ahead and keep your hands by your sides. Shift your weight back into your heels and push your hips behind you until your thighs become parallel with the floor. Your knees should be moving in the direction of your toes. Do not let your torso become rounded or let your heels come off of the floor during the movement. Lift your hips, torso and chest simultaneously as you return to the starting position.
Advanced: Perform a squat; extend first the right and then the left leg out to the side at the base of the squat. Bring the foot back toward the center and stand back up to the starting position.


Stand on one leg; use a chair or stand by a wall for support, if needed. Lift one leg off the ground and write the alphabet in the air with your toe; repeat with the opposite leg. This can be a great exercise to do while standing in the kitchen cooking or while folding laundry.
Advanced: Stand on one leg and extend your arms straight out from your body. Rotate your arms so that your right arm is pointing toward your toes and your left arm is extended to the ceiling. Next, switch so that the left arm is pointed toward the ground and the right arm is extended toward the ceiling.

Lateral Lunge
Lateral lunge

Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart. Look straight ahead and keep your hands in a comfortable position to help you maintain your balance during the exercise.
Inhale and slowly step to the right while keeping your weight in your left heel; keep both feet facing forward. Once your right foot is firmly placed on the floor, begin to shift your weight toward the right foot, bending the right knee and pushing the hips back. Continue to lunge until your shinbone is vertical to the floor and your right knee is aligned with the second toe of your right foot. Your left leg should be as straight as possible and your body weight should be distributed into the right hip. Keep the heels of both feet flat on the floor.
Advanced: Perform a lateral lunge as described above, but after the lunge, bring the knee up and place a small ball or med ball underneath the leg and then return to the lateral lunge.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Intense Cardio Workouts for a Healthy Living

intense cardio workoutsIn today’s fast-paced world where everyone is constantly on the go and you need to keep running if you want to keep up, the one thing people tend to neglect is, well, running. People work so hard that when they return home they rarely want to go back out for a run or spend time at the gym. The need for home workouts has increased to accommodate people’s schedules, but you can’t take your DVDs everywhere.
The solution? Online fitness courses that can improve you workout consistency which is actually more important than duration. A great workout you can do without equipment is the No Equipment, No Excuses Workout you can complete right at home. This workout will increase your energy especially when done in the morning before you get ready to go out for the day. I recommend exercising as you wake, before your shower, and doing a quick workout when you return in the evening from your day before you settle in at home. If your schedule isn’t traditional, sometimes the gym is not the right answer due to problems with hours of operation. Though 24-hour gyms exist, it is not always convenient or close by. So you can work your fitness and intense cardio around your schedule. If you have times on your days off, you can go to the park for exercise and do intense, functional exercises in cardio to strengthen your body and mind.
Intense Cardio Workouts you can do at the park:

First you must warm up a bit to avoid injury and do not try these exercises if you have any injuries as they can become aggravated by intense exercises. Start with a light jog, then settle into stretches to loosen up your muscles.

Sprints – Probably the most well known, common forms of intense cardio exercise that can be done virtually anywhere outdoors and can be your best friend on the road to a healthier life. Sprints are valued for their intensity and the key to getting the most out of sprints is to sprint short distances multiple times. If you set your sprints about 20-40 feet apart you can get the most out of your exercise. The most important thing to know is that you may feel tired, but do not give up. Push past the initial fatigue to engage your muscles fully and you will start to sweat in no time. When finished hydrate by drinking water or your preferred sports drink.

Push-ups – Push-ups are the quintessential “guy workout,” but it is becoming rapidly more popular for women as well. Push-ups engage your whole upper body and will really tire out your arms and shoulders. You can do the push-ups slow to tire your muscles faster, but the idea behind intense cardio workouts is to prevent you from fully recovering. In this case, you should do your push-ups quickly and try to do as many as you can until your arms will not hold you up any longer or the time it takes you to push yourself up takes too long. Remember to be careful not to push to hard so you can avoid injuries. Hydrate, then move on to the next exercise.

Crunches – Crunches are good for your core muscle groups; abs, obliques, and lower back. Doing crunches are a good way to keep yourself feeling tired while you workout while giving your arms time to rest after doing so many pushups. Lie on your back and place your hands behind your head. You should have your knees bent slightly and ankles crossed in the air above your hips. Bend your head up towards your knees then back towards the ground. Your feet should not touch the ground, not should your head. Resting your knees on one side or the other while doing these will work your oblique muscles on either side of your abs. Do them until your stomach burns and you cannot so anymore then roll onto your stomach. Keeping your hips and legs flat, push your upper body up like a push-ups to stretch your mid-section. Hydrate and move on to the next exercise. Get a lean, strong body with crunches and more with this course.

Burpees – Burpees are every kid’s nightmare. You start with standing with your hands at your sides. You drop down on to your stomach with your hands in the push-up position, push yourself back up to your feet and jump into the air with your hands above you. Land on your feet, then repeat as fast and as long as you can. Be careful not to fall onto your stomach. Lower yourself carefully, but quickly, hydrate, then move on the the final test; The Gauntlet.

The Gauntlet – The Gauntlet is a combination of all of the workouts. Using your 20-40 foot area you used for sprints you will sprint one way then sprint back, sprint again, but this time you will do push-ups, the run backwards to the starting point and do more push-ups. 10 push-ups usually works well to keep the exercise tough and flowing, though 5 will work if you are tired. After the push-ups, without a break you will sprint again and drop into crunches this time doing 10-20 and returning to do the same. The last sprint is the same with 5 or ten burpees at either end and one full sprint to the end and back to end The Gauntlet. Now you can hydrate, go on a short jog to loosen up and stretch again. When you return home, have a banana, a protein shake, or small meal to replenish your energy.

These exercises will help you burn calories quickly. Intense cardio workouts can be very useful only if you embrace the workout and maintain the lifestyle. You must not think of working out as something you have to do, but more of a part of your day. Just like brushing your teeth in the morning is part of your routine, so too, should your exercise. Maintaining is hard and there are courses in setting your mind up to incorporate exercise into your life such as, finally losing weight without a gym membership or a way to lose fat, gain muscle, and maintain your weight with No Bull Fitness. If your style of working out is more suited to say a 6-week challenge, where workouts are shorter in duration and spread out over 6 weeks then that works as well. The hardest part of fitness and lifestyle change is keeping yourself motivated. This is also the most important thing for you to focus on.

Positivity is very important in weight loss. Your body actually reacts to your moods, causing good and bad things to happen depending on your mood. Intense cardio workouts are not only about thinking you must workout, it is about believing that you will get results. Imagine what you will look like when you are done and envision your success, make it real. The positive attitude, the increased energy from your added exercise regimen, and your new look will make the intense cardio workouts completely worth it! Beyond the different mental and physical state of your body, you will have increased confidence knowing that you have made yourself a stronger and better person. You can help others workout with you. Especially when doing the physically-hard exercises, having a partner/competitor/friend with you will motivate you to push harder and longer leaving you stronger. If you are tired of being tired, sick of feeling sick and fed up with feeding negativity, get off of the couch and get your course started!


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Best Leg Exercises for Strength and Muscle Development

bestlegexercisesWhether you want to build strong, powerful quadriceps and hamstrings or just tone up your legs for summer, the best way to strengthen and firm your lower body is by adding leg exercises to your workout routine.
From classic powerlifting exercises like the barbell squat to endurance-building leg exercises like the bodyweight lunge, this blog post lists the nine best leg exercises for developing a strong, firm and highly athletic lower body.
Do you want to get stronger, slimmer and more athletic? Enroll in No Bull Fitness: Build Muscle, Lose Fat and Be Healthy to discover a proven workout and nutrition routine that will help you gain muscle and lose fat.

Bodyweight Squat

bodyweight squatsAre you just getting started with personal fitness? The bodyweight squat is a simple but effective exercise that will help you strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes for a firmer, stronger lower body.
Bodyweight squats are easy to perform, and you can safely do them at home with no workout equipment. Lift your arms in front of you to balance your body and squat to the point at which your thighs are parallel with the ground.
If you want to make bodyweight squats more of a challenge, try squatting using only one leg at a time. You can also hold dumbbells at your side and perform two-legged squats for a more challenging workout.

Barbell Squat

Fitness Trainer Doing Squats With BarbellsThe barbell squat is a classic powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting exercise. You’ll need a gym membership or a power rack in order to perform this exercise safely, as doing squats without a rack to sit the weight on can be dangerous.
Balance the barbell on your upper back and shoulders – it should fit naturally onto the top of your trapezius muscles. Keep your legs at least shoulder width apart and squat down gradually to the point at which your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Barbell squats are one of the best leg exercises for building strong quadriceps and glutes, especially when performed with a heavy weight for five to ten reps. They’re also one of the ‘big three’ powerlifting lifts, along with the bench press and deadlift.
There are two different ways to perform barbell squats: the high bar stance and the low bar stance. Learn more about the difference between the squat techniques and learn which is best for you in our blog post on the high bar and low bar squat.

Leg Extension

bestlegexercisesBodyweight and barbell squats are compound exercises that work more than one muscle group. Squats work the quadriceps – the big muscles on your thigh’s front side – as well as the hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles.
Leg extensions, on the other hand, are an isolation exercise. Rather than targeting your whole lower body and posterior chain, they isolate your quadriceps to target the four muscle groups on the front side of your thigh.
You’ll need a gym membership or leg extension machine to perform leg extensions as part of your workout. Try to perform two to four sets at a moderate weight after you’ve finished your bodyweight or barbell squats.
Don’t want to train in the gym? Learn alternative leg exercises that you can perform at home to strengthen your muscles, build your body and burn away fat with our No Equipment, No Excuses Home Workout course.

Leg Press

bestlegexercisesThe leg press is another lower body compound exercises. Unlike the barbell squat, it uses a supportive machine – in this case, the leg press machine – to reduce stress on your lower back while maximizing the amount of quad and hamstring involvement.
Performing the leg press is simple. Sit down in the leg press machine and gently lift the sled off the rack. You’ll need to pull the safety levers on the side of the machine out to allow the weight sled to travel down the machine.
Bring the weight sled down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle, then push up into the soles of your feet to return the sled to its starting position. If you’re doing leg press after squats, try performing two to four sets of eight to ten reps.

Hamstring Curl

Leg CurlSo far, all of the leg exercises we’ve listed target the quadriceps and glutes first and the hamstrings second. The hamstrings are the other major muscle of your thighs – the ‘leg biceps’ that run from the back of your knees to your buttocks.
Many people focus on squats and leg press in their training and build strong quads but weak hamstrings. The hamstring curl isolates your hamstrings and forces them to work independently of other muscle groups.
Hamstring curls can be performed in two positions: sitting, using a machine that’s similar to the leg extension machine, and from a lying position. Keep the weight as low as possible and focus on technique and endurance for this exercise.
Do you want to learn how to increase your endurance and become stronger, fitter and better at sports? Check out our Muscle-Up Fitness course to learn exercises and workout routines that give you functional strength and a major performance boost.

Bodyweight Lunge

bestlegexercisesThe bodyweight lunge is a great quadriceps, hamstring and glute exercise that you can perform without any weights. Put your legs in a running position and gradually lower your body towards the ground, placing your weight on your front leg.
Push up using your front leg and bring yourself back to a standing position. Switch legs and repeat. Bodyweight lunges target all of the muscle groups in your thigh for stronger, firmer legs.

Dumbbell Lunge

bestlegexercisesAre bodyweight lunges too simple for you? Make your lunges more challenging by holding dumbbells on either side of your body. Hold a small dumbbell in each hand and perform the same lunge motion as you would using just your bodyweight.
Dumbbell lunges are a great addition to a workout routine build around squats and other heavy leg exercises. Keep the dumbbells light and focus on your technique, as overdoing the weight can result in injuries to your knees.
Need more of a challenge? Switch to dumbbell lunges using a smith machine or the squat rack for a more challenging, controlled leg workout. Stick to light weights and perform sets of eight to ten lunges using each leg for optimum muscle development.
Lunges are some of the best exercises for building core strength. Learn more about how to train your core for overall athletic performance and wellness with our blog post on strength training workouts for health and wellness.


bestlegexercisesLike the squat, the deadlift is one of the most challenging exercises you can perform for your lower body. It’s also one of the most rewarding, working all muscle groups in your lower body, as well as several in your back and arms.
The deadlift is an incredibly challenging exercise, and it’s best performed on days in which you aren’t performing barbell squats, leg presses and other heavy lower body movements. Stick with short sets of five to eight reps, focusing on good technique.
Learning how to deadlift can be tough, but once you’ve mastered this exercise you’ll have no trouble building a strong, great looking lower body. Learn the basics of the deadlift in our course, How to Deadlift: The Ultimate Strength Exercise.

Calf Raise

Thats How You Train Legs CalvesSo far, we’ve covered your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings, as well as the various muscle groups targeted by deadlifts in your lower and upper back. What we haven’t targeted is your calves – the muscles in your lower legs, near your shin bone.
Calves are notoriously hard to develop, but one of the best exercises for developing strong, chiseled calf muscles is the calf raise. Stand on a raised platform and lift your body to stand on your toes, using one leg at a time and only your calf muscles.
Switch legs and repeat, aiming for high reps and good technique. If you need extra resistance, hold small dumbbells in your hands to give your calf muscles more of a challenge. Perform two to four sets of calf raises at the end of your workout.