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

Complacency Kills: Get Your Mind Right | IronMag Bodybuilding Blog

Plyometrics - Perfect Total Fitness
25 Apr

by Matt Weik (originally featured on

For the sake of this article, we will be referring to your overall health and fitness results—but this topic can transition over to just about any aspect of your life from your job, business, personal life, home life, etc. The topic at hand is complacency and what it means to your success when it comes to health and fitness. It’s a shame that we even need to talk about this, but unfortunately, all of us see complacency around us on a daily basis—some cases it might be the man in the mirror.

Slacking with your workouts

It’s easy to get yourself off track and never hop back on the train. You might have good intentions on realigning with your goals, but most people never truly get back to where they need to be. We live in a society where, unfortunately, it’s acceptable to be obese or worse, morbidly obese. We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings by calling them overweight or fat. As soon as you say something it’s as if you were some sort of homegrown terrorist plotting a mass genocide on a whole demographic of overweight individuals and that you’re some horrible person. It’s actually quite sad when you think about it.

But, complacency forms bad habits. And once those bad habits are formed, it’s tough to break them. Maybe you were working out five days a week, then went down to three days a week, then one, and eventually you stopped all together. I get it, our lives are busy. We are always on the go. We have families to take care of. We work long hours. I get it. I’m there with you. I run a business, I have a wife, I have a son, I exercise daily, and I am still able to focus on my nutrition. Is it easy? No. But it’s worth it in my opinion. However, I could easily slack off and put on ten pounds of fat without batting an eye by not being active and consuming the wrong food choices. Complacency breeds complacency. It’s a downward spiral.

Think about your workouts for a second. Have you ever just not felt strong so you lowered all of your weights for the week? Then the following week you still didn’t feel like pushing yourself, so you lowered your intensity and drive again? All of a sudden, before you know it your strength is gone and the weights you were once pushing are out of sight now. You need to get your mind right and stay in the fight. When your mentality shifts and you take your foot off the pedal, you’re bound to start slowing down unless you dig deep and slam that pedal through the floor. The days that you don’t feel like doing anything are the days you need to double down and get after it and stay focused. Those are the days that will build and shape who you are and your mental strength.

Loosening up on your nutrition

The IIFYM (if it fits your macros) crew will want to debate me on this as they work their nutrition around whatever foods they want to consume—but, for the majority of the people, they aren’t following an IIFYM lifestyle or nutrition plan. There’s nothing wrong with IIFYM, it’s just some of the individuals don’t truly grasp the concept and think they can eat McDonald’s at every meal so long as they don’t go over their calories for the day. Unfortunately, all calories are not created equal. This in itself can be its own article.

People for whatever reason decide to give into temptation. The strong-willed will easily jump back on the horse before they completely fall off. However, most people end up falling off the horse and get stuck in the mud. One day of bad eating becomes two days which becomes a week, and then weeks later they are feeling like Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. Does that make them change their tune? Nope. Why? Because that’s our society today. No one is going to say anything about their weight. And so the downward spiral continues.

Too many people use food to deal with stress and emotions. Not many people look at food as fuel for both the mind and the body. When individuals are upset, they generally turn to something sweet like cake, ice cream, candy, etc. Some turn to alcohol, which in itself adds up quickly when you partake in more than one beverage. It’s “accepted” in today’s society. Think I’m missing the mark? Look to your left and to your right. All of those people are in shape and healthy, right? Hardly. They have fallen into their own complacency trap.

Everyone has good intentions of exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, yet very few follow through with it. When you surround yourself with the wrong crowd, it’s easy to follow the flock. When you are weak-minded (or easily influenced), the last thing you want to do is hang out with people who will change your behaviors. If you’re exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, these individuals aren’t going to want you to succeed. They want to drag you down to their level to make themselves feel better. They feel uncomfortable around you when you’re fit because that’s something they strive to look like, yet they don’t have the will-power to execute.

Complacency kills

When you start feeling comfortable with where you are is when you will start seeing yourself taking steps backwards. When you feel satisfied is when you will slip up. Challenge yourself every day to hold strong and weather the storm no matter what comes your way. When you’re head-strong and motivated to not only hit your goals, but to surpass them is when you will see results.

Don’t settle for average and follow what everyone else does. Those individuals are complacent. They are the sheep while you should be the wolf. They are happy with how they look and feel (but shouldn’t), they are happy with barely getting by with their career, they are ok with the amount of money sitting in the bank, they are satisfied with their relationships at home. These people are only fooling themselves. They just don’t want to put in the work—because it’s difficult and time consuming. It requires an effort. It’s just as easy to say “the hell with it” as it is to make it happen and succeed. The only decision you need to make is the direction you want to go.

Source: Complacency Kills: Get Your Mind Right | IronMag Bodybuilding Blog

It’s Time for Women to “Buy Into” Strength Training – trainermegj

24 Apr

It’s Time for Women to “Buy Into” Strength Training

In case you missed it on Tony Gentilcore’s site , here is my latest article:

Houston, we have a problem.

Most women understand the importance of strength-training, but there is still a full-blown phobia of the weight room floor.

In case you missed it, strength-training

  • Builds muscles,
  • Increases or maintains bone density,
  • Boosts mood by relieving stress and building confidence,
  • Helps fight against chronic disease and
  • Exponentially increases your awesomeness.


So what’s the hold-up?

This video might offer some clues:

Even though most women know they should be lifting, a number of factors inhibit the urge to actually cross over the threshold of the weight-room floor—which isn’t just disappointing, but bad for their health.

So how can we convince women to buy in to the idea of committing to the iron jungle?

John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead have a tremendous book, “Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shot Down,” about the concept of getting others to buy into an idea. Kotter and Whitehead provide four reasons why a magnificent idea (see: strength-training) gets shut down:

  • Death by delay
  • Fear-mongering
  • Confusion
  • Character assassination

Let’s look at how these issues are often at play in women’s heads when it comes to strength-training.


Death by Delay:  We are great at finding a good reason to put off obligations… until Monday/after exams/once we get past the holidays. This can be a never-ending cycle,  Because a “good time” is never going to knock on the door and offer us Girl Scout cookies. The good news is that we can create “a good time.”

The more we put off strength-training, the more our muscles, hormones and mind-set get stuck in the same old comfy rut. It doesn’t get easier. On top of that, women reach our peak bone mass in our 30s, which means fighting an uphill against osteoporosis going forward.

Don’t delay. The time to start is now.

Fear-mongering:There can be a lot of fear when starting to lift weights.  Fear of the unknown or looking like you have no idea what you are doing is something I often hear from clients, and that’s something that gets its own section, below.

In the meantime, we also might have a lingering fear of being watched or judged by others. I understand, but really, most people are either too focused on themselves to notice you or are praying you won’t take the piece of equipment they want to use.  But to be safe, here is a list ofgym etiquette rules.

If someone if making your feel uncomfortable, please alert the gym staff and they will handle it… because that’s not cool.  The gym setting shouldn’t be unlike any other public setting.  Think of the grocery store. Yes, there is a chance someone is looking at you and your cart, but so what? You need food and you need the benefits from strength-training.

Fear of other’s sweat and grossness? Valid. But most gyms have antibacterial spray and paper towels  everywhere —which is better than most public settings. Just sayin’.

Confusion:  Back to the fear of not knowing what to do. I highly recommend hiring a personal trainer, even for a couple sessions, to show you the ropes. Some gyms even offer a complimentary training session or orientation to the facility. The money you invest in your health early on will save you from doctor’s bills in the future, so it’s a positive return on your investment. If working with a trainer isn’t possible, here are some basic moves I put together to get started

Character Assassination: This one is a heart-breaker, but I’ve seen it too many times before. It’s when women doubt themselves and their ability to reach their goals despite previous accomplishments or even before making any attempt. You might not believe you can be successful and that you don’t deserve to be on the weight-room floor. Well, consider this your personal invitation… because you do have a place among the bars, bells and cables.

Need more of boost? Again, I recommend a session or two with a trainer to affirm that you are capable of being “Queen of the Iron Throne.”Aside from that, tap into the power of  friends, family, social media or Beyoncé to encourage you to slay. It is essential to be your own cheerleader, rather than your enemy.


With all the benefits of strength-training, it’s time to quit talking yourself out of this wonderful process. Address your concerns and excuses, then move on. You’ll be glad you bought into this idea.

P.S. To crush any lingering concerns: You won’t bulk up, unless you’ve been blessed with the genetics of Xena Warrior Princess.



Buy-in Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shot Down

John P. Kotter – Lorne A. Whitehead – Harvard Business Review Press – 2010


Source: It’s Time for Women to “Buy Into” Strength Training – trainermegj

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Quick Total-Body Workout

24 Apr

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time

Photo: Pond5

Plyometrics — or high-intensity exercises that stretch and then quickly shorten your muscles (think jump squats or plyo push-ups) — are already known for their quick calorie-blasting, body-toning results. “The technique was originally designed to develop explosive speed and power in Olympic athletes, but the benefits extend out to the average Joe and Jane in both body and mind,” says Adam Rosante, NYC-based trainer and creator of the popular bodyweight interval workout WaveShape.

“The intensity of firing up your big muscle groups with such speed sends your heart rate through the roof and burns a ton of fat.” Plus, Rosante explains, when your brain is forced to process the mechanical speed required of plyo moves, it has the potential to improve overall cognitive function.

But there’s better news yet: There may be an even more efficient way to do this powerhouse type of workout.

Plyometrics Exercises: The Power of Cluster Sets

Though many people stick to the standard two or three sets of 10 to 15 reps, flipping that format on its head might actually improve your performance, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Exercisers who did cluster sets — 10 sets of shorter reps ranging from only two to five — were able to jump higher and reach greater takeoff velocity during their workout, which could result in more explosive power.

The sweet spot is sets of three to five reps, found Lee E. Brown, Ph.D., study coauthor and director of the Center for Sport Performance at California State University in Fullerton. Do fewer than that and you can’t maximize the eccentric (or muscle-lengthening) phase of the movement, which will lessen your velocity. Go for more than five and you’ll get too fatigued to maintain your max jump height. It’s important to note that ample rest is also key to helping you reach maximum power and jump height throughout every rep, says Brown. Aiming for 30 to 45 seconds between sets allows you to start each set feeling fresh.

Want to know what cluster sets feel like? We had Rosante design the following plan, a mix of moves to tone your entire body and rev your heart rate in no time. Do 10 sets of three to five reps of each move — using momentum from the previous rep to drive speed and power — and rest 30 seconds between sets.

Your Quick Plyometrics Workout in 6 Moves

6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Quick Total-Body Workout

Photo: Twenty20

1. Plank Squats

How to: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and begin to lower the body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, until thighs are parallel or close to parallel with the floor (a). In one fast motion, drop the hands to the floor and jump your feet back to a plank position, making sure the body remains in a straight line from head to toe (b). Immediately jump your feet back to the squat position to complete one rep (c).

2. Plyometric Push-Ups

How to: Start in a plank position with wrists directly under the shoulders, body in a straight line from head to toe (a). Lower your chest to the floor and then push up explosively with enough force for your hands to leave the floor for a second, and then land softly (b).

3. Broad Jumps

How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and begin to lower the body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, stopping just before your thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump up as high as you can and forward, and focus on landing softly on your feet (b). Immediately return to the quarter-squat position and repeat (c).

4. X-Overs

How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and begin to lower your body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair until thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump straight up explosively and as your feet leave the floor, cross your right leg in front of your left, then uncross so you land with feet shoulder-width apart to complete one rep (b). Immediately lower back into the squat and repeat, this time crossing the opposite leg in front.

5. 180 Jump Squats

How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart and begin to lower your body, keeping your weight in your heels as if you’re sitting back into a chair, stopping just before your thighs are parallel with the floor (a). Jump up, turning your body 180 degrees mid-air, in order to land facing in the opposite direction (b). Immediately lower into your quarter-squat again, and jump and turn in the opposite direction, so you land in starting position to complete one rep (c). (For more squat variations, head here!)

6. Pass, Fall, Go’s

How to: Kneel on the ground and hold a weighted ball with both hands against your chest. Explosively push the ball forward from your chest and release it far as possible (a). Follow through by falling forward and catching yourself with your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart (b). Push back up and take off sprinting to the ball (c). When you get to the ball, that’s one rep (c).

Originally published December 2014. Updated February 2018. 

Source: 6 Plyometrics Exercises for a Quick Total-Body Workout