Maximise The Benefits of Plyometrics Training | Men’s Health Singapore

08 May
Plyometrics are a great training tool for athletes. Originally called jump training, these exercises allow muscles to produce maximal force as rapidly as possible. They can be as simple as skipping or as challenging as jumping onto boxes or hurling a medicine ball for distance. Whatever form they take, the goal is the same: to produce power by linking strength with speed.

The results you get from plyometrics come with a price. Although they don’t look particularly taxing, these exercises present an all-out challenge to your muscles, joints, connective tissues, and central nervous sys­tem. Before you even consider adding them to your workouts, heed these guidelines.

1. Make Sure You’re In Decent Shape
The standard advice is to forget lower-body jumps until you can squat 1½ times your body weight; and to avoid upper-body plyos until you can bench-press your weight. To us, that advice seems like a Catch-22—you must be strong before you’re allowed to develop power. Look at kids: They don’t need training to skip and jump. They do it all day, every day. It’s an important part of their development. Could the average 20-kilo kindergartner squat 30 kilos or bench 20? We doubt it. Let’s modify the standard advice and say you should build a base of strength and fitness before you turn to plyometrics. We think a solid year of strength training should do it.

2. Respect Pre-existing Injuries
Make sure your injuries have healed before you do plyometrics that affect those areas. With some chronic knee and lower-back injuries, you may not be able to do plyometrics at all without risking further damage. (Same with wrist injuries, in the case of plyometric pushups.)

3. Do Plyometrics First In Your Workouts

That means after warmups and stretching, but before strength or aerobic exercises. In an ideal sit­uation, strength and aerobics should be done on one day, plyometrics on another, warmup and stretching every time you workout. If that’s not an option, do plyometrics before strength and/or aerobics work.

4. Rest 2 to 3 days Between Plyometric Workouts

Beginners and those over age 40 may want to budget even more time for recovery. You want your muscles and connective tissues to grow stronger between workouts, and that requires full recovery from one workout to the next.

5. Keep Reps Relatively Low

Try for 6 to 10 per set.

6. Rest 2 to 3 minutes Between Sets

But stay on your feet. Stretch or walk around in between sets. Don’t sit and allow your muscles to stiffen.

7. Keep Volume Low

Plyometric volume is usually measured in foot contacts, rather than in reps. The term means exactly what you think it means, although one foot landing counts as 1 contact, while two feet landing at the same time also counts as 1 contact. That’s because your body—particularly your lower back—feels contact no matter how many Nikes hit the turf. Beginners should limit themselves to 60 to 80 foot contacts per workout. Advanced guys can go as high as 150 to 200, with intermediates in between.

8. Get Off The Ground

Minimize ground time and maximize air time. As soon as you land from one jump, immediately explode into the next one. Height isn’t as important as speed.

9. Use Ground That Gives

Your backyard or a nearby field is an ideal place to do plyometrics. A carpeted floor can also work in a pinch.

10. Progress From Easiest to Hardest

Just as you started strength lifting with the simplest exercises—crunches, pushups, biceps curls—and then progressed to the challenging stuff, you should also start plyos with simple standing jumps before moving onward and upward.


Source: Maximise The Benefits of Plyometrics Training | Men’s Health Singapore

5 Absolutely Insane Body Benefits Of A 40-Min Spin Class | Women’s Health

08 May

By Grethe Swart; photograph by Munetaka Tokuyama

We put a 40-minute spin class to the test! Not convinced you can sculpt the body you want in such a tiny time frame? Think again…

Indoor cycling has changed the exercise game as it recently boomed into a fitness culture worldwide. Young or old, fit or not, a 40- minute spin class promises to burn that fat, prevent unwanted injury and tone those muscles all in one! After putting it to the test by taking five 40-min classes per week, the results are pretty astonishing…

1. Goodbye to 500 calories (2 000kJ) in 40-minutes

Not everyone enjoys running for hours on a treadmill in the hope of shedding that guilty weight. According to Spinning Instructor News, the average individual is likely to burn up to 500 calories (or 2 000kJ) during a 40-minute class! (That’s roughly four cupcakes that are ditched for good).

2. Lower risk of injury and embarrassment

Training on a stationary bicycle ensures a low-impact workout that’s far easier on your joints and reduces the risk of injury. Bonus: apart from avoiding embarrassment (after tumbling off the treadmill a la Taylor Swift – now you may as well check out WH’s essential hip hop workout playlist), you’ll also look super-professional and in control of your workout (all hail stationary equipment!). Want to know which cardio is better: cycling or elliptical training?

3. Less thinking, more fun!

Gone are the angst-riddled nights of planning your workouts… and never sticking to them – there’s that guilt again. Not only does a 40-minute spin class save you time, it also allows you to free your mind and transport your body to a peaceful place, without having to look at a piece of paper and lose count of those reps. Your sole task? Listening to the voice of the instructor, who serves both as a therapist and personal trainer – another two-for-one win! Everyday obstacles can now be tackled effectively after a powerful 40-minute workout that doubles as stress release.

4. All-in-one exercise

Spin classes are usually divided into four types of exercises: speed, endurance, power and combination, which are scheduled throughout the week on different days and at different times. This allows you to integrate all the important aspects of training into your weekly fitness regime without having to switch equipment or ask the regulars for help (all the time). For best results: mix it up! This way, boredom can’t touch your fun workout.

5. Firmer everything!

Once committing to the spinning regime, your entire body will slowly but surely start to firm up. Due to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you’ll fry fat by cycling, melt away the kilojoules and build muscles – all at the same time! According to, a 40-minute class targets the large muscle groups (calves, hamstrings and thighs) in your legs to shape up fast, whilst strengthening the abdominal muscles, necessary to maintain your upper body rhythm.

If 40 measly minutes come with this many advantages, then spinning is winning! Great minds ride a bike #JustSayin’

Source: 5 Absolutely Insane Body Benefits Of A 40-Min Spin Class

5 Most Effective Exercises For Fat Loss | Fat-Burning Man

07 May

Effective Exercises

Just because you’re Paleo, you listen to my show, or you follow an iron-clad fat loss program doesn’t mean you’re immune to the absurd amount of bad exercise information out there…

One research study comes out saying that cardio is the only way to burn fat, another says that running makes you fat, then yet another comes out saying that the only way you’ll see your abs is to get your stomach stapled and buy a raspberry-ketone-green-coffee-acai-berry-super-cleanse potion. (Thanks Dr. Oz.)

Where does that leave most of us?


Well, I’m here to help. Fat loss is really just a metabolic process – influenced heavily by our hormones and nutrition – and it doesn’t have to be all that complicated.

When it comes to exercising, many different exercises will help you lose fat – and that’s the truth.

However, some exercises help you build an ideal physique, while others don’t. And not all will optimize your hormonal environment which, in the end, is what you really want.

Optimized hormones = effortless fat loss and lean muscle maintenance.

Here’s what you want to do:

  • Decrease cortisol (stress hormone)
  • Increase anabolic hormones

… yes, there’s another variable in this equation (something that very few people actually think about)… but I’ll leave that for a future post.

Fortunately, cortisol and anabolic hormones act in opposition to each other. If we train to optimize the latter, the former will naturally decrease.

And that keeps things simple.

So what’s the best way to optimize our anabolic hormones?

Two words: compound movements.

Studies have found that explosive full-body movements will simultaneously increase our anabolic hormones (growth hormone, testosterone, etc.) while decreasing circulating cortisol, lowering our body’s chronic stress response.

  • Sprinter = full body explosive movements = ripped and muscular.
  • Long distance runner = chronically-elevated cortisol = skinny-fat and weak.

BeforeAfterMarathonAbel – Endurance Vs. High-Intensity Training

So what are some compound movements you can be doing to improve your hormonal balance?

Here are my 5 favorites:

  • Burpees: Yes, these hurt… but in that “oh so good” kind of way. Doing short rounds of burpees for 60 seconds will get your heart rate up in seconds and will give you an outstanding full-body explosive workout. Really work to explode as you jump into the air at the peak of the movement.
  • Deadlifts: The deadlift engages not only your arms and back, but also your full core – front and back – along with many muscles in your legs and feet. Lifting heavy for low reps really challenges your entire body and is great for fat loss and, believe it or not, great abs.
  • Power Cleans: Before doing these make sure you study up on the proper form – we don’t want any injuries. When done properly, cleans can be a single-movement workout all by themselves. You engage almost every muscle in your body – even your face – and you really work on explosive power in your arms and legs as you make the wrist transition before lifting overhead.
  • Sprinting: It goes without saying that sprinting is an incredible workout. You don’t even have to sprint very far to get serious benefits: the results are a direct result of your effort. Go hard and you’ll start to look and feel great. You’ll get a well-proportioned look and keep lean, hard muscle in all the right places.
  • Pull-ups: Believe it or not, pull-ups engage much of your body, including your core. And with correct form (straight legs) you even engage your legs. Pull-ups can be done fast or slow, high or low. If you get really good at them you can even venture into plyometric territory: try a clap pull-up or plyo pull-up. They’re an extremely efficient movement for building a great physique for both men and women.

Master these five exercises and you’ll never need anything else. I mean it.

Abel James Deadlift

I hope you find these tips helpful. Let’s optimize those hormones. 🙂

Source: 5 Most Effective Exercises For Fat Loss | Fat-Burning Man

Introduction to Plyometrics

05 May

Introduction to Plyometrics

A basic guide to plyometric exercises.

The post Introduction to Plyometrics appeared first on The LiveYourSport Blog.

Plyometric exercises

Remember the fun you had as a kid, hopping, skipping, and jumping around the playground? The exercises you do with plyometrics mimic those dynamic moves.

Plyometrics (“plyo,” for short) used to be called “jump training.” It’s a technique that you can use in many different ways. For instance, you can do plyometrics to help train for basketball, volleyball, tennis, or any other activity that uses explosive movements.

The physical demands of an athlete differ greatly from a ‘normal gym guy’ looking to build huge muscles. Explosiveness – a combination of muscle power and strength – is what an athlete needs to work on rather than ‘slow-rep’ bodybuilding exercises like bench press or bicep curls.

This is where plyometric exercises come in handy. Plyometric exercises are moves associated with a power component – so, if you were to do a ‘clap press-up’ that would be a plyometric move as opposed to a traditional press-up. Likewise, jump squats are plyometric compared to normal squats.

The three key benefits of plyometric training are: increased muscular power, prevent injuries, and boost high end abilities like sprinting or jumping.

  • Muscular power

  • Power is vastly different from strength. Power relates to one’s ability to apply force quickly (such as jumping) as opposed to strength which refers to one’s ability to simply displace weight. A real world example of this would be to take a bodybuilder who can leg press 800lbs and a kick boxer who can only leg press 400lbs. If we had each individual kick a training bag, the trained kick boxer will exhibit greater power and apply more force to the bag than the bodybuilder. This demonstration exemplifies how the bodybuilder may have more strength but the kick boxer has more power.
  • Prevent injuries

  • For many professional athletes, their careers depend upon how quickly their bodies can react and operate. Unfortunately, the demand for these quick responses places the body under a great deal of stress. By performing plyometric exercises in addition to regular strength training exercises and regularly stretching, athletes can build up all forms of muscular fibers which leads them to be less susceptible to injury.
  • Plyometrics target the fast-twitch muscle fibers. An activity like jogging targets the slow-twitch muscle fibers. Fast-twitch muscle fibers are exercised by executing movements quickly, therefore requiring the muscles to rapidly contract. Activities like long distance running allows the muscles to contract slowly (and sometimes not even fully contract as the stride does not require it)
  • Boost high end abilities

  • For an athlete looking to gain an edge in a particular sport, plyometrics is a great way to bring their skills to the next level. With proper training, plyometrics will increase an athlete’s vertical jump, enhance their ability to make quick lateral movements, allow for greater punching/kicking force, and of course, it allows for one to increase their top running speed.


Plyometric exercises:

  1. Jumps

Depth Jumps: This exercise uses gravity and an athlete’s weight to increase exercise intensity. Assume a standing position on a box, step or hop off, land, and immediately jump vertically, horizontally, or on to another box. Depth jumps can be performed with one or both legs. The height of the box is dependent on the athlete and his or her goals. Furthermore, one should ensure that the surface they are landing on is suitable for absorbing impact so as not to risk any shock injuries

Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and jump as high as possible. Upon landing, squat and immediately jump up again.

Tuck Jumps: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Explode and jump as high as you can, bringing your knees into your chest. As you descend, straighten your legs and land softly on the balls of your feet. As soon as your feet touch the ground, repeat the sequence.

  • Long jumps– loading the lower body by squatting down a bit and using arm swings, explode forwards to complete a series of long jumps – increase the intensity by increasing the distance, the number of jumps or the speed at which you jump.
  • Vertical jumps– complete a series of vertical jumps reaching a pre-decided target hung up from the ceiling or marked on the wall.
  • Stair jumps– using the principle of pre-loading, jump with both feet and try to cover as many stairs as possible.
  1. Plyometric Push-Up: Assume a normal push-up position. Lower yourself to the floor. With explosive force, push off the floor so that your hands leave the floor. Repeat.
  2. Burpee – Stand straight, go down to push up then get up to do a tuck jump.
  3. Lateral Jumps – From a standing position, jump side to side.

There are countless other exercises and specific plyometric exercises that you can implement into your training routine, and given that most of them don’t require any equipment, you can perform them at any time (as long as you have a suitable landing surface—tarmac is not great for shock absorption).

Areas It Targets

Core: No. This workout doesn’t specifically target your core.

Arms: No. Most plyometric workouts don’t target your arms. But if you want to work them, you can add upper-body moves like medicine-ball throws and plyometric push-ups.

Legs: Yes. Expect your legs to get in great shape from all the jumping and hopping.

Glutes: Yes. Moves like jump squats fire up your glutes to make them stronger.

Back: No. Though the workout involves your whole body, it’s not focused on your back muscles.

Safety considerations

Plyometrics have been shown to have benefits for reducing lower extremity injuries in team sports while combined with other neuromuscular training (i.e. strength training, balance training, and stretching).

Plyometric exercises involve an increased risk of injury due to the large force generated during training and performance, and should only be performed by well conditioned individuals under supervision. Good levels of physical strengthflexibility, and proprioception should be achieved before commencement of plyometric training.

The post Introduction to Plyometrics appeared first on The LiveYourSport Blog.

Source: Introduction to Plyometrics

Deadlift Technique and Teaching Points | Australian Fitness Academy

02 May


The barbell deadlift should be a staple exercise in anyone’s gym routine. It is a great exercise to build a solid foundation for most other movements. Quite simply it is the exercise that, if performed correctly, will build unmatched mass while strengthening all the major muscles groups, although the squat could arguably be granted similar prestige.

The benefits of the barbell deadlift are numerous; it is a great exercise because it works more muscles simultaneously than any other movement, it creates core stability, is a relatively safe movement (the weight can be dropped if required) and won’t cause unduly stress on any of the major joints involved. There are real life applications; lifting objects from the ground without causing injury, which makes it a very functional exercise. It helps to improve grip strength and is arguably a true measure of strength. And finally, it requires minimal equipment to perform. In fact, you can do the movement with any object, as long as you can apply good form and technique.

Although it seems like a straightforward movement pattern, to get the barbell deadlift technique right is actually quite difficult, especially if you’ve never done one before nor been taught proper technique. There are many resources out there, from many “experts” whom have little credentials. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check the credentials of those teaching this technique before blindly following their advice. It is best to have your personal trainer go through the movement with you, and to do so using light weights until you have the movement perfected.

The basics:

A proper barbell deadlift starts with the weight on the floor. You start with your lower back straight—not arched—and knees bent. You then pull the barbell in an upwards direction and towards the body until your entire body is upright.

Barbell Deadlift Teaching Points

  • Grip the bar with hands in a pronated position (hands in the overhand position) and slightly wider than shoulder width apart (you can use alternate grip one hand forward / back if your grip strength is a limiter)
  • Feet shoulder width apart with the bar positioned over the mid part of the foot
  • Squat down keeping normal curve in lumbar spine, chest up, head facing forwards and shoulders over the bar
  • Keep arms straight, hold scapulae down, and brace to stabilise trunk
  • Commence lift by pushing through the floor with the legs and letting hips and knees rise at the same rate, keeping bar close to shins
  • When the bar clears the knees, continue to extend the legs and the lower back until body is fully upright
  • Lower the bar under control keeping lower back slightly curved and the bar close to the body until the plates lightly touch the ground

Common Errors:

  • Poor posture at starting position of movement: lower back rounded, head and chest forward
  • Bar too far in front of the feet
  • Shoulders not over the bar
  • Bending arms to help pull the bar up
  • Hips rising faster than knees
  • Bar too far out in front of body
  • Rounding the lower back at any stage of the lift
  • Hyperextending the lower back at the top of the lift
  • Head and chest dropping forward during descent phase of the lift

Movement analysis

The barbell deadlift is a compound movement which involves several joints and large muscles, listed below.

 Joint Action at each joint during the concentric phase Main muscles performing the action at each joint Exercise Classification
Hip Extension Gluteus MaximusHamstrings Compound
Knee Extension Quadriceps Compound
Ankle Plantar Flexion GastrocnemiusSoleus Compound

Deadlift variations:

Side deadlift – same technique as the barbell deadlift but using weight on only one side.

Suitcase deadlift – using two weights either side of the body, often dumbbells or kettlebells.

Rack pulls – using the rack to shorten the movement to the upper section of the lift. Focussing on the back extension more than the leg drive.

Romanian deadlift / Straight legged deadlift – starting from shin height and keeping the legs relatively still to work the gluteus maximus and hamstrings.

Deficit deadlift – simply stand on a weight or plate to add a little extra range of motion to the deadlift.

If you’d like to learn more about exercise from the industry leaders in fitness education, and become a Personal Trainer yourself, take our Personal Training Course.

Source: Deadlift Technique and Teaching Points

What are Plyometrics and Why Should You Do Them? | The Beachbody Blog

01 May

In the simplest definition, plyometrics refers to jump training. A key component of many sports, such as basketball, soccer, and tennis, plyometric training can enhance athleticism, strengthen the most powerful muscles in your body, and more.

Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of plyometric exercises, and how to safely add them to your workout routine.

The Benefits of Plyometrics

In order to propel your body off the ground and land safely, a lot has to happen in your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. “Plyometric training targets your type II (a.k.a. fast twitch) muscle fibers, which are the largest, strongest, and most powerful in your body,” explains Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., Beachbody’s Fitness and Nutrition Content Manager. “It doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned lifter or a strength-training newbie—studies show that plyometrics can help you build muscle as effectively as conventional weightlifting, and that combining the two can help you reach your goals faster than focusing on either one alone.”

Not only that, the impact your body absorbs from landing has benefits for your bones, spurring them to become denser. And if you’re an athlete, plyometrics can improve your agility and explosiveness when it comes to fast-response moves, such as sprinting, quickly changing direction on the field or court, and, of course, jumping (say, to rebound in basketball).

How to Get Started With Plyometrics

If you’re new to plyometrics, as with anything you should start small. This is especially important for plyometric exercises because correct form is so crucial, as you need to both lift your body off the ground and control the landing.

This dual-action makes plyo exercises more difficult and complex than most exercises. If you have a movement dysfunction, it will be magnified when the speed and power of a jump is applied to it.

Thieme suggests incorporating plyometric training into your workout plan by adding a plyo element to exercises with which you’re already familiar. “So you might do the jump squat instead of a conventional squat, or the split jump to compliment a conventional lunge,” he says.

When learning a new plyometric move, you can first perform it without the jump to get a handle on the form, strength, and stability that is required to do it correctly. Once you have all of that, you can then add the jumping movement.

Another way to start small is to choose lower-impact plyo exercises, such as jumping jacks, jumping rope, skaters (hopping side to side from one foot to the other), and even some martial arts or boxing activities that involve punching and kicking.

And don’t ignore the upper body: plyo pushups (where you “jump” your hands up on the press, either off the floor, an incline surface, or even the wall) and medicine ball throws are great for building explosive power above the waist. Just always be aware of your form. When you become tired, form tends to suffer, and risk of injury increases.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t do plyometric exercises?

The short answer is no, as long as your doctor hasn’t identified a reason why you shouldn’t (such as deteriorating joints or bad knees). However, “if you’re significantly overweight, add plyometric exercises to your training plan gradually, and stay away from high-impact moves like box jumps entirely,” says Thieme. “Doing too much, too soon—or doing advanced exercises before you’re ready for them—can stress your joints, increasing your risk of injury.”

Try These 5 Plyometric Exercises

Although many people think of plyometric exercises as a lower-body workout, they can target your upper body as well. Here’s a representative sample of plyometric exercises that effectively work many of the body’s large muscles. To absorb some of the impact of these plyo moves, consider using a plyometrics mat.

Alternating step jumps

Stand tall with your arms by your sides and your left foot on a bench so that your hip, knee, and ankle are all bent 90 degrees. Keeping your chest up, shoulders back, and core braced, drive through your left foot while swinging your arms up and pushing your body up with enough force for the left foot to leave the bench. Switch feet in the air, landing with your right foot on the bench, and your left foot on the floor. Continue alternating legs with each rep.

Plyo push-ups

Assume a plank position with your feet together (or separated slightly), your body straight from head to heels, and your hands in line with (but slightly wider than) your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes and brace your core to lock your body into position. Keeping your elbows tucked against your ribs, lower your torso until your chest is within a few inches of the floor. Pause, and then push up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground. Land softly, and transition immediately into your next rep.

Skater jumps (from 21 Day Fix–Plyo Fix)

Start with your right leg slightly bent and your left foot tucked behind it. Push off your right leg to move your body to the left, landing on your left leg, and tucking your right leg behind it. Continue the lateral jumps, landing softly and with bent knees each time.

Wide in & out abs (from INSANITY–Max Interval Plyo)

Assume a plank position with your hands in line with (but slightly wider than) your shoulders, and your feet wider than hip distance. Squeeze your glutes and brace your core to keep your body in a straight line. Keeping your hands on the ground, jump your feet in to come under your hips, keeping the feet shoulder width apart. Then, jump back to the starting position.

Scissor kick jumps (from P90X3–AgilityX)

Stand on your right leg, with your left leg lifted straight out in front of your body. Moving to the left, jump to your left leg, lifting your right leg straight out in front of your body. Switch once more to your right leg, and then once more to your left leg. Then reverse the direction jumping to your right, still alternating legs.

Source: What are Plyometrics and Why Should You Do Them? | The Beachbody Blog

7 Amazing Benefits Of Jump Squats |

01 May

7 Amazing Benefits Of Jump Squats

Do you want well shaped thighs and legs? Well, if you do, then this is the post you should be reading! Jump squats help exercise the quads and calves while helping you tone your body as well. There are many benefits associated with jump squats. Let’s look at how to perform Squat jumps and their variations. To know how squat jumps can be beneficial for you, read till the end.

The Routines:

To begin, stand in front of a full-length mirror. Bend your knees a little; make sure that the spine remains upright.

1. The Basic Routine:

  1. Begin squatting. To squat, lower your body as much as you can by squatting down. Bend your knees and assume the position of sitting down. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground. Pause and hold position.
  2. Launch your body upwards. Lift your hands above your head as you jump in the air.
  3. Try to land in the same position. Bring your arms back to the starting position. Repeat.
  4. As you land, go into the squat to finish one repetition. Try and land effectively (you may have to master this skill).
  5. Do 3-sets of 15 repetitions. (1)

2. Advanced Version:

You can increase the intensity of your workout by adding some variations to the simple jump squats. Jump squats help tone the calves, glutes, hamstrings, core, and quadriceps.

  1. Lift a pair of dumbbells and keep at the sides, with the knuckles facing away from your body.
  2. Lower your body as much as you can by squatting down. Bend your knees and assume the position of sitting down. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground. Pause and move back to the starting position.
  3. Launch your body upwards. Lift your hands above your head as you jump in the air.
  4. Try to land in the same position. Bring your arms back to the starting position. Repeat.
  5. Do 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions.


As the routine is more challenging than the normal jump squat, you can opt to decrease the number of repetitions or decrease the number of sets. You could also increase the rest time between each jump.

Equipment Needed:

  • Dumbbells
  • Weight vest
  • Water bottles
  • Towel


People with rheumatoid arthritis and knee pain should refrain from performing these exercises.

Wear knee caps and protective gear wherever necessary while exercising. (2)

Types of Squat Jumps:

Here are the various types to perform jump squats:

1. Regular Squats:

Regular squats

Image: Shutterstock


These are just regular squats. They focus on toning the legs and butt.

1. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. With your feet firmly on the ground, push your hips out while slowly lowering yourself.
3. Make sure that your toes point forward, knees are in the front, and your head and shoulders are straight.
4. Rise slowly
5. Repeat the same.

[ Read: Benefits Of Frog Jumps Exercises ]

2. Wall Squats:

Wall Squats

Image: Shutterstock


These are regular squats, done against a wall.

1. Do the regular squat but instead of pushing your hips out make sure that your back is straight with the support of the wall.
2. Do not bend lest you hurt yourself.
3. Repeat without sliding up and down the wall.

3. Uneven Squats:

Uneven squat

Image: Shutterstock


Keep a plank at a little height to perform these squat jump exercise.

1. Place one foot on the floor and the other on the plank.
2. Do your regular squats.
3. Make sure that you balance your weight evenly.
4. Do not stress the knee.
5. If you have any problem doing this, do not attempt this squat.

4. Prisoner Squats:

Prisoner squats

Image: Shutterstock


These squats are tough to do.

1. Keep your hands behind your head.
2. Push your hip backward while you bend.
3. Keep your shoulders and arms straight.
4. Lower your body and squat

5. Monkey Squats:

Monkey Squats

Image: Shutterstock


Monkey squats are one of the tougher squats to do.

1. Stand with your legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. Reach for one knee or toe (depending on how flexible you are) as you lower into a squat.
3. Still holding the toe, squat as low as you can.
4. Slowly rise and release the toe.
5. Make sure that you never pull or push the toe or knee.

6. Sumo Squats:

Sumo Squats

Image: Shutterstock


These squats are regular squats, which you need to perform by placing your feet far away from each other.

1. Keep your feet apart such that the distance between them is more than shoulder length.
2. Make sure that it is not so much that you lose your balance.
3. Hold a heavy weight with both your hands and perform a squat
4. Remember to keep your upper body straight as you bend your knees.
5. Lower yourself as much as you can

7. Single Leg Squats:

Single Leg Squats

Image: Shutterstock


Single leg squats are difficult for beginners.

1. Stretch one leg out in the front.
2. Stretch your hands in the front too.
3. Now, squat as low as you can.
4. You can use a piece of furniture for balancing.

8. Frog Squats:

frog squat

Image: Shutterstock


You need to perform these just the way you do burpees.

1. As you squat down, jump and land on your feet with your hands in the front.
2. Jump back up and repeat.
3. It is similar to burpees where you continue to stretch down and back up.

9. Jumping Jack Squats:

Jumping Jack Squats

Image: Shutterstock


Jumping Jack squats are more of a cardio workout.

1. Start with jumping jack.
2. As your arms go down, squat down.
3. As your arms go up, your body should squat up.

[ Read: Benefits Of Tuck Jumps Workout On Your Body ]

10. Squats:


Image: Shutterstock


Perform any of the above squats, with weights.

  • 1. You should use weights, which you can lift comfortably.
  • 2. Always make sure that you have a proper balance without the weights. In that way, you won’t hurt yourself with the weights.

Benefits Of Jump Squats:

Jump squats have a variety of health benefits. For a start, they help build and tone the calves, glutes, hamstrings, core, and quadriceps. They have other benefits as well. Here we list some important ones:

1. Builds Muscle:

Not only do jump squats help build leg muscles, they help promote an anabolic environment. This environment helps build other muscle groups in the body.

2. Burns More Fat:

Gaining muscle is one of the best ways to burn calories. With every pound of muscle gained, you will burn around 50-70 calories more than regular days. Squats help you build muscle and thus directly help burn more fat.

3. Maintain Mobility And Balance:

Legs are crucial to mobility. As you get older, your leg strength decreases and squats can help you curb the natural weakening of these muscle groups. Squats help maintain motor balance and help improve brain to muscle communication.

4. Prevent Injuries:

Jump squats help improve balance. They help prevent injuries as they directly increase the extent of motion in the hips and ankles.

[ Read: Steps To Do Plié Squat Jumps ]

5. Boost Your Sports Performance – Jump Higher And Run Faster:

Scientific studies concluded that squatting helped athletes perform better, specifically in endurance exercises. This is why jump squats are a part of most of the athletic training sessions. (3)

6. Tone Your Backside, Abs And Entire Body:

Jump squats build muscles that are crucial to glucose regulation, insulin sensitivity, and lipid metabolism. Jump squats help prevent heart diseases, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.

7. Help With Waste Removal:

Jump squats improve body fluid circulation. The bodily fluids help remove waste and deliver nutrients to tissues, organs, and glands. (4)

These are the many advantages of jump squats! So do include them in your exercise routine if you haven’t yet!

You can also check out many videos on these exercises. If we missed anything or you have any suggestions, please leave us a comment below.

Source: 7 Amazing Benefits Of Jump Squats |

Want to Run Faster? Try These 7 Plyometrics Moves |

30 Apr


Source: Want to Run Faster? Try These 7 Plyometrics Moves |

Whether you’re just getting into running, preparing for your first 5K, or attempting a full marathon, you might be wondering how you can get a little faster on your feet. One way: Add plyometrics to your training.

Plyometrics, which are movements where you jump explosively and spend as little time on the ground as possible, have been found to improverunning speed and efficiency. “When you run, you need to produce force against the ground as quickly as possible,” says Jason Karp, PhD, a running coach and owner of Run-Fit. “Plyometrics improve your muscle’s ability to produce force quickly.”

What makes plyometrics so unique is their ability to target two kinds of muscle movements: shortening and lengthening. “When you do quick movements where you jump, land, and jump again, your muscles are being asked to lengthen quickly, then shorten quickly, and then lengthen again,” he says. “This combination actually produces more force than if you just did a shortening move or a lengthening move alone.”

Plyometrics can be pretty intense, so Karp recommends starting with some basic movements and building on them each week.

Six-Week Plyometric Exercise Routine for Runners

These moves all target your glutes, quads, calves, and core. Try to spend as little time on the ground as possible between jumps. Do the routine twice each week in addition to any running you’re doing.


Single-Leg Hops

Plyometrics: single-leg hopsStand on left leg. Hop 10 times, then hop forward and back 10 times, then hop side to side (shown here) 10 times. Repeat on right leg, rest, then do one more set.

Step-Up Hops

Plyometrics: stair hopsStand on your left leg in front of a step or small platform. Hop up onto the step and walk down. Stand on right leg and do the same. Repeat 10 times on each leg. Rest, then do one more set.


Same two movements as Week 1.


Same two movements as Week 2, plus:

Double Leg Bound

Plyometrics: Double-leg boundStart in a squat position, then jump forward with both legs as far as you can. Repeat 10 times. Rest, then do one more set.

Alternate Leg Bound

This move looks like an exaggerated running motion, but you’re bounding forward as far as you can from one leg to the other (not pictured; it will look like a combination of running and jumping). Repeat 10 times on each leg. Rest, then do one more set.


Same four movements as Week 3, plus:

Squat Jumps

Plyometrics: Squat jumpsWith hands on hips the entire time, squat down, then jump straight up as high as you can. When you land, lower back down into a squat position smoothly, then immediately jump again. Repeat 10 times. Rest, then do one more set.


Same five movements as Week 4, plus:

Depth Jumps

Plyometrics: Depth JumpsStand on a one-foot tall box. Jump onto the ground with both feet and land in a squat. then jump straight up as high as you can. Step up onto box, repeat 10 times. Rest, then do one more set.

Box Jumps

From the ground, jump up with both feet onto a box about a foot high, then immediately jump back down to the ground. Do 10 reps. Rest, then do one more set.

Same seven movements as Week 5.


Source: Want to Run Faster? Try These 7 Plyometrics Moves |

Lifting Heavy Weights: 7 Benefits

27 Apr

In college, I avoided the “bro zone” of the gym like it was a frat house after a rager. I was intimidated by the grunting, the weird machines, and the almost entirely male population outside of the cardio section and free weights. I didn’t want anything to do with their protein shakes and bro tanks. Instead, I used the cardio machines and would do the same one to two exercises with 8-pound weights every time I went to the gym.

But I really wanted to lift.

A taste of CrossFit was all it took to get me addicted to lifting heavy. After a couple of months, I was lifting more weight than I thought possible. Five years later, I regularly squat more than I weigh, and 25-pound dumbbells are my go-to. Today, I feel at home under the bar.

While there are great weight loss and calorie-blasting benefits of lifting heavy, it’s not why I do it. Weightlifting makes me care more about the weight on the bar than on my body. I work hard at the gym to push my body and mind. It’s about what my body is capable of, not what it looks like.

Lifting heavy, for example using a weight that you can only do 1 to 6 reps with, has made me battle the voice in my head — it’s far more crushing than any weight could ever be. With heavy plates on the bar, there isn’t room for self-doubt or negative thoughts. It takes all of my focus to step up, to stay in control, and to crush the lift.


Weightlifting makes me feel powerful. Confident. My lifting shoes are my “power heels.” When I hit a big lift, I’m unstoppable. I’m capable of moving the weight and handling the other challenges in my life. I walk down the street knowing the physical and mental strength inside of me.

The lessons I have learned in the gym bleed out into the rest of my life. They have made me a faster runner, a more independent person, and a confident woman. Before you get to the heavy lifting, here are a few reasons why you should take this on.

1. Confidence

It’s not just me. Training with heavy weights is shown to improve your self-confidence. Weight training can also reduce anxiety, ease depression, and increase happiness. While it might be hard at times to get motivated to hit the gym, the benefits outlast the initial struggle.

Get going and get happy.

2. Get stronger

Heavy weights increase the power and strength of your muscles without significantly adding bulk or size, especially for women. This means that everyday physical tasks get easier, and consistent training will increase the amount of weight you can lift. You’ll look stronger, too. Strength training with heavy weights enhances your muscle mass and definition.

Hello Michelle Obama arms and Beyoncé abs!

3. Cut the fat

Everyone knows that exercise helps you to burn more calories, but according to Mayo Clinic, a regular strength training program can also help you burn more calories when you’re not in the gym. You get an “after burn,” where your body continues to use more calories in the hours following a workout. In addition to that, strength training builds muscle. That larger muscle mass increases the calories you burn daily without exercise.

Just like a double chocolate chip brownie, heavy strength training gives you a double reward when burning calories.

4. Build your brain

Heavy weights develop more than just muscle. Lifting heavy increases the production of many hormones, including the hormone IGF-1, which helps to stimulate connections in the brain and enhance cognitive function. In a recent study, leg strength was positively linked with stronger minds that are less susceptible to the negative effects of aging.

Simply stated: Strength training can improve your ability to learn and think as you age.

5. Prevent injury

Resistance training using body weight and with free weights, strengthens more than just your muscles. It also strengthens your bones and connective tissues. This added strength and stability will help you ward off injuries and keep a strong body. It can also help reduce symptoms of many conditions like back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain.

In this case, the game reduces the pain­ — the game of strength training, that is.

6. Improve endurance

It seems counterintuitive, but strength training has been shown to improve endurance, speed, and running economy (the amount of energy and effort it takes to do something like run a five-minute mile). A recent study showed that lifting heavier weights improves economy more than lighter weights. That extra weight on the bar will pay off during your next run or spin class.

So don’t lighten on the weights. The heavier the better.

7. Fight aging

Inactive adults can lose 3 to 8 percent of muscle mass per decade. You might lament the loss of your rock-hard arms or killer abs, but even worse, muscle weakness is linked with an increased likelihood of death in men. Heavy resistance training can help fight, and reverse, the loss of muscle mass. It can also strengthen bones and help prevent osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.

The old saying, “Use it, don’t lose it” seems appropriate for your muscles.

8. Next steps

Learn how to get started with the weightlifting guide for beginners. Or, get stronger at any of your lifts with the Smolov program, a 13-week long guide to improving your squats of all types, and gain strength. All it takes is one lift to get started!
Follow these tips to stay safe in the gym:


  • Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning a heavy lifting program, especially if you have high blood pressure or any vessel disease.
  • It’s very important to use proper form anytime you are lifting, but it’s even more important when you are lifting heavy.
  • Meet with a trainer if you have never lifted, or if you have never lifted heavy weight, to get started. Ask them what weight you should start at to stay safe.
  • Pay close attention to your body and adjust lifting as needed to avoid injury.

Source: Lifting Heavy Weights: 7 Benefits | HealthLine

Functional Strength Training: What It Is, Why You Need It, and Exercises – InBody

26 Apr

[PTF Note: Many of these exercises are included in Plyometrics training at Perfect Total Fitness – stop in and talk to one of our certified personal trainers for more information!]

We all know injuries can happen in the gym—but how many times have you heard someone say they injured their back carrying heavy luggage or lifting kids? Or tweaked their knee going on a hike or walking the dog? That’s why functional strength training is such a hot topic these days.

The American Council on Exercise(ACE) defines functional strengthtraining as “performing work against resistance in such a manner that the improvements in strength directly enhance the performance of movements so that an individual’s activities of daily living are easier to perform.”

Quite the mouthful, right?

Let’s try this simplified definition for functional training:

“Training that attempts to mimic the specific physiological demands of real-life activities.”

Like most exercise philosophies, there’s some controversy over the term “functional training” though.Mel C. Siff, Ph.D. published a paper in the National Strength & Conditioning Association Journal and said:

“[Functional training] has become such a hot item that its proponents are creating the impression that all other approaches to sports training are wrong, unproductive, spurious, or ineffectual.”

Siff argues that the word “functionality” is highly subjective because it depends not only on the exercise itself but on factors like:

  • Characteristics of the athlete
  • Reps
  • Sets
  • Manner of execution
  • Phase of training
  • Interaction with other training
  • Current physical and mental state of the athlete

Regardless of the context in which we define functional training, clinical data from a multitude of sources clearly shows the effectiveness of “functional” strength training, particularly for older adults.

We’ll dig into the current research shortly. First, let’s talk about why you need functional strength.

Why do you need functional strength?

Here’s a scary stat: your muscle mass and strength will decrease 30 to 50% between the ages of 30 and 80. Despite this, only 6%of adults do resistance training two or more times per week (the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation).

Doing resistance exercises and movements that help you become stronger, more flexible, and more agile makes you better equipped to handle day-to-day feats of strength and athleticism that are often overlooked. And, it can help you become less injury-prone.

Another secondary benefit, according to ACE, is that improving your strength and agility in one area of your body leads to better performance in other areas.

The science of functional strength training

So, to work towards functional strength, do you have to start benching, squatting, and deadlifting? Not if you don’t want to, and for some, that might even a barrier to even getting started.

In one study that compared traditional weight training to functional training (which they defined as resistance training exercises mixed with isometric stability exercises) in middle‐aged and elderly adults, researchers found that traditional weight training and functional training were equally effective at improving functional capacity in test subjects.

Another study of 87 adults aged 65-93 years published in the American Journal of Health Promotion showed that functional ability improved for functionally limited elderly people who participated in a 16-week structured exercise program consisting of thirteen different strength training exercises using a Thera-Band resistance band.

When researchers tested the effects of 12 weeks of resistance training on the isometric strength, explosive power, and selected functional abilities of healthy women aged 75 and over, they saw statistically significant improvements in 4 out of 5 exercises measured.

Finally, another studyfound that for adults in their 70s, shoulder strength was a key indicator of upper body functional strength (we’ll look at some exercises that address this below).

The science is clear: functional strength training is more than just another fad. It’s something adults could really benefit from, especially at they age. Unfortunately, most aren’t doing it.

How to improve your functional strength

There are several exercises you can do to improve your functional strength. Functional training expert Michael Boyle says in his book New Functional Training for Sports that it’s a good idea to focus on functional “stability training” that targets three specific areas:

  1. Deep abdominals (transversus abdominis and internal oblique)
  2. Hip abductors and rotators
  3. Scapula stabilizers

Here’s a good list of exercises that work one or more of these areas you can incorporate into your workout routine every week.

Pushup to arm and hip raise

Muscle groups worked: Pectoralis major/minor, rectus abdominus, obliques,deep abdominals, hip abductors and rotators, scapula stabilizers

Perform a normal pushup. When you reach the top of the movement, lift one of your arms up, turn your shoulder, and reach your arm up to the sky. Then lift your outside leg up as high as you can, holding for up to 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Do 6-10 repetitions on each side. This exercise builds shoulder, arm, and hip strength, engages your core and ab muscles, and improves flexibility in your shoulders, back, and hips.

Bodyweight squat


Muscle groups worked:Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, deep abdominals, hip abductors and rotators

One of the best exercises for building all-around functional lower body strength is the mighty squat. Squats work nearly every muscle in your legs, while also building the necessary core strength to help you with day-to-day movements involving pushing, pulling, and lifting.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to load a barbell full of heavy weights on your back to reap the benefits of this exercise. Your own body weight is plenty for most people, and you can do several variations once you start building strength.

Focus on strict form over function (feet shoulder width apart, bend at the hips and don’t let your knees go past your toes, lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor).

For advanced squatters, hold on to a pole or TRX strap and do 1-legged squats. If your leg strength is above-average, you should be to work up to unassisted 1-legged squats (they’re much harder than you think).

Inverted row

Source: Everkenetic

Muscle groups worked:Back muscles, Biceps, deep abdominals, scapula stabilizers

This exercise effectively targets your back muscles, spine and scapula stabilizers, and arms, making it easier to do every-day activities that include any type of pulling motion (lifting things off the ground, starting a lawnmower, etc.).

To do it, lie down flat on your back and grab a stable barbell or set of straps above you. Pull your upper body up as high as you can while keeping your back straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top. Complete as many repetitions as possible. Here’s a quick video that shows how to do it.

Exercise ball hamstring curl

Source: Flickr

Muscle groups worked:Hamstrings, glutes, deep abdominals, hip abductors and rotators

Eccentric exercises like the hamstring curl are one of the most effective ways to build functional strength in your hamstrings and hips and prevent injuries down the road.

To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and lift your legs up so the bottom of your feet are resting atop an exercise ball. Roll your legs out until they’re straight, hold the position for a second or two, then return to the top of the movement while squeezing your hamstrings.

Working these muscles will help make any squatting, bending, or thrusting motions easier.

Exercise ball rollout

Source: Everkenetic

Muscle groups worked:deep abdominals, quadriceps, pectoralis major/minor, scapula stabilizers, deltoids, hip abductors

Exercise ball rollouts are one of my favorite functional exercises. They work your chest, shoulders, core, and legs. To do this exercise, start in a pushup position with your arms on the floor in front of you. Lift your legs so the tops of your feet rest on the exercise ball. Your knees should be bent to start the movement. Now extend your legs out as straight as you can. Hold the movement for a couple seconds, then return to the starting position. Do 10 total repetitions.

Hip mobility sequence

Muscle groups worked:hip abductors and rotators

GMB Fitness put together a great video of a 6-minute hip mobility sequence. Exercises include lying hip rotations, piriformis stretch, butterfly, frog, kneeling lunge, traveling butterfly, squatting internal rotations, and pigeon. Do this sequence three times a week to loosen up those hip abductors and rotators(author’s note: I tried it and felt fantastic after).

Scapula sequence

Muscle groups worked:scapula stabilizers

Russ Paine, PT and Michael L. Voight, PT published an excellent paper in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy called The Role of the Scapula, where they outline a 3-phase routine for beginner, intermediate, and advanced strength training athletes.

The beginner exercises are targeted more toward those who have had shoulder surgery but it’s always good to have a firm grasp on “the basics” before trying any of the other movements.

The Final Verdict

Functional strength training is a proven way to slow down the effects of age-related muscle atrophy and decrease your risk for injury. Try doing several of the exercises noted above to work the important stabilizer muscles in your core/deep abdominals, shoulders, and hips.

As you add more functional exercises to your workout, you should see improvements in your ability to perform your everyday activities and, thus, in your quality of life. That’s quite a return on a very small time investment.


Scott Christ is a health and wellness entrepreneur, writer, and website strategy consultant. He’s also the creator of the world’s healthiest plant-based protein powder.



Source: Functional Strength Training: What It Is, Why You Need It, and Exercis – InBody