What to Look for When Choosing a Fitness Program


Among the few silver linings of being stuck at home is the country’s sudden interest in working out and staying fit. It’s fuelled an already thriving occupation, which was projected to grow by 15% from 2019 to 2029. Yoga instructors, strength and conditioning coaches, and other fitness professionals have managed to stay busy over the past few months with their clients demanding more accessible workouts they can do at home. But with the rise of experts also comes a growing number of fitness programs to choose from. Picking the right one when there is a myriad of options can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what exactly to look for. We’ve come up with a list of questions that can help you choose the right training program for you:

Is the fitness instructor qualified?

As mentioned, the demand for qualified professionals in the health and fitness space is steadily increasing. Yet with so many “experts” out there how can you know who to follow? The best way is to take a look at their background. Look for degrees, diplomas, official fitness training courses, and work experience. It is also best to dispel preconceived notions of educational institutes and courses. Today, many instructors will have gotten their education and training online due to the increasing need for people to study in their own time through flexible courses. Those with an online degree in exercise science will study the same key foundations as a traditional course, including exercise prescription, strength and conditioning, and nutrition. You just need to check that the person offering the program has proof of their education, and research to see whether it is a reputable institute, degree, or course.

Does it align with your goals?

The goal setting process is the foundation of training of any kind. It can be something general like lose fat and build muscle, get stronger, improve athleticism, or a combination of all. You can also set more specific goals such as building muscle symmetry to avoid sports injury, which you can do with a range of isometric exercises. Maybe you want to get faster at running, build upper body strength or, more specifically, do 50 pull-ups in a row. Determining your goals, whether general or specific, helps to narrow down your choices of exercises you should be doing.

What kind of equipment and facilities does it require?

Not everyone has access to gyms, studios, and equipment. Keep this in mind when choosing a program or making your own as you might have to adjust your workouts to suit the tools available. For example, use resistance bands to replace weights or do sprints on the street or on a treadmill if the track is closed.

Will you be needing support?

Some people use their workout sessions as time for self-care and would like to be left alone. Some stay motivated with an accountability partner or a coach who can show them the ropes. Meanwhile, some people push harder in group workouts and attend classes that can keep them stimulated and competitive. It’s a personal preference. Consider how much support you will be needing because it can be a key factor to your success.

How will you measure progress?

A lot of people train for a competition or an event, which is what they use as a timeline for their program. Maybe you want to train for a road race in three months, a sports competition in three weeks, or an upcoming rock climbing trip with your friends in the summer. Those give you specific dates that you can build your training around. Even without these events, it’s still a good idea to find a program with a given timeline to check if you’re on track to reach your goals. Experts recommend measuring body fat percentage changes as well as cardiovascular endurance and strength rather than weight loss. After an eight-week program, track how these numbers have changed, or how much your sleep and food habits have changed which are also good measures of progress.

Is it enjoyable?

The last and most important question is: is it enjoyable? You need to consider how a training program will fit into your lifestyle — will it make you feel stressed or will it give you more energy? For it to be sustainable, exercise should never feel like a punishment. Another good way to check if a program is effective is if it genuinely gives you satisfaction from doing it and it improves the other aspects of your life.

Looking for a fitness program that works for you doesn’t have to be so complicated after all. A tool that ticks all of these boxes — and one that can help you get on the right track with your fitness goals — is Activ5. This isometric-based strength training device provides workouts designed by leading trainers, which are personalized to your fitness level and goals. As a portable and tech-enabled fitness tool, Activ5 is the perfect way to maintain motivation even with a busy schedule and measure sustainable progress over time.

Written by Anne Chinee Serene
Exclusive for products.activbody.com

Reduce Low Back Pain with Quick Isometric Back Exercises


How to Reduce Low Back Pain with Quick Isometric Workouts

Low back pain is an affliction that is linked to weakened core muscles and musculoskeletal integrity in and around the spinal column. A variety of diagnoses including arthritis, spinal stenosis and endometriosis, cause the conditions leading to low back pain.  An extensive 2014 study suggested that isometric back exercise aids those suffering from low back pain to build core stability for a better quality of life.

Accessible and convenient, quick isometric back exercises and workouts build core muscles and increase vitality. It is ideal for people recovering from back injuries, those who suffer from low back pain, and for busy professionals who spend a lot of time sitting. If your schedule doesn’t allow for long workouts, there is a simple solution that will set you on a track to improving your quality of life.

Moreover, recent innovations in the exercise tech sector have revolutionized isometric exercise in such a way that you can engage in fun, quick workouts while monitoring your activity and documenting your progress.

Self-administer Physical Therapy

Broken bones, strained ligaments and sprained joints all require healing time. During this period, tissue in and around the injury is subject to atrophy. Isometrics can build muscle strength without the discomfort of high-impact activities like running and weight lifting. For example, low back pain from a herniated disc means that the region needs to be eased back into condition. With a doctor’s approval, you can expedite the process with quick workouts that engage the lower back muscles for intervals ranging from five to sixty seconds.

For example, isometric Yoga poses, including the Locust, the Bird-Dog, and the Superman, reduce low back pain. Yes, these are all forms of isometric back exercises! The muscle contraction should be intense enough to be felt but not so much that it causes pain. Repeat these exercises several times throughout the week to gradually build muscle strength. 

Stabilize for Back Pain Relief

The musculoskeletal advantages of isometric exercise also improves core stabilization, which reduces stress on the lower back. Low back pain is often the result of atrophied muscles from an overly sedentary lifestyle.  A recently published study demonstrates that isometric exercise is an excellent solution while providing additional benefits. A panel of 39 female subjects suffering from lower back pain underwent a four-week workout program, resulting in unanimous reports of reduced pain and increased vitality. What’s more, the health improvements lasted for nine months after the official exercise program ended. Quick isometric workouts builds muscle strength around your core, leading to an improved quality of life.

Reduce Low Back Pain from Sitting Too Much

Recent medical research has revealed that regularly sitting down for extended periods contributes to bad posture and low back pain. If sitting for long periods is unavoidable in your job, you don’t have to take it sitting down, so to speak. While at the wheel, behind a desk, or at a computer screen, you can perform isometrics without disrupting your routine. These include abdominal and pelvic floor contractions, among other exercises.  Additionally, as exercising increases circulation, you also benefit from improved mental clarity and enhanced energy.

isometric exercises for lumbar spineIsometric Back Exercises

It can be tough to find appropriate back exercises that help you to become more flexible and strengthen your muscles, without causing injury. Particularly if you a;ready have pre-existing back conditions. But, when you try the isometric back exercises that we have sourced for you through the Activ5 app, it’s a whole new world of opportunity. From lat pull-downs to seated rows, you can use the principles of isometric exercise for back strength.

The Isometric Revolution

Activbody has innovated a way for those interested in isometrics to experience it in a fun, engaging and connected way. The Activ5 device is an isometric exercise device that connects your movements with a smartphone app.  It coaches you through quick workouts while tracking and measuring your levels and progress. With Activ5 as your coach, you can build muscle strength, reduce low back pain, and enjoy an enhanced quality of life.

Sources:

https://draxe.com/isometric-exercises/

http://ptjournal.apta.org/content/85/7/676

http://www.dynamicpt.com/library_treatments_56/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

https://www.zvab.com/9780990606109/0990606104/plp

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/25/health/la-he-dont-sit-20130525

http://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/6-exercises-you-can-do-while-sitting-at-your-desk.html/?a=viewall

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258252724_Effects_of_Stabilization_Exercises_on_Health-Related_Quality_of_Life_in_Women_With_Chronic_Low_Back_Pain

http://www.healthline.com/symptom/low-back-pain

http://www.livestrong.com/article/106461-isometric-exercises-lower-back/

http://www.dianelee.ca/article-training-deep-core-muscles.php

Flowers Again? 5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Mom Love You Even More


It sounds like a question on Family Feud – what are the most common Mother’s Day gifts? According to Forbes.com and based upon the billions of dollars we spend on Mother’s Day presents. the number one gift is… A meal out. Could be brunch, lunch or dinner, but nearly 4 in 10 of you did just that.

But, this answer is kind of misleading. Seriously, how many of you would take your mom out to lunch or dinner and NOT give her something else? Say…jewelry, flowers, a card, or a gift card to her favorite store? Of course, you do! She’s your mom. (By the way, those last four gifts are 2 thru 5 on the Forbes most-popular-gift list.)

5 Tips to Make Your Mom Love You Even More

Well, we have a few ideas, so you can mix it up a bit and make her REALLY happy:

  1. A meal together: NO, this is different! Avoid the The Cheesecake Factory (and calories) this year and do something unique. Make her a favorite meal from her childhood. Don’t cook? Pick up a delicious meal and bring it to her house. If it’s a wonderful day outside, have a picnic. The point is to do something memorable. Take a few photos and you can make a scrapbook as a follow-up give (major bonus points).
  1. Make a scrapbook (you saw this coming): You’ve had a smartphone for years. Pick out the best photos, print them, and make your mom a scrapbook. Sprinkle in some old photos and include some handwritten quotes or a poem or two about moms. If you really want to make it special, have you and your siblings come up with the 55 (or her age) things we love about mom. Write these all over the book. You’ll be surprised how many you come up with when you start reminiscing.

Not creative? Try using the Internet and copy something.

  1. A cool, recurring gift: Get her something she’ll continue to get throughout the year to remind her to keep you in the will. Just make sure it’s something cool and on-point with things she likes to eat, wear, or do. If you’re truly a great child, you will make her a recurring gift. Now THAT’S a boss move.
  1. Something Unique: On the other hand, if you’re really lazy and just don’t care that much about Mother’s Day, at least get her something unique from Etsy or Uncommon Goods.
  1. The Activ5 portable workout device: The best thing you can give your mom this year is something that’s good for her. An Activ5 device and app for her phone has all of the above gifts all “wrapped” into one. First, you’re going to take her out to lunch anyway. Don’t cheap out on your mom; give her this too!

Second, it’s cool and recurring, because she exercises with it every day. Third, it’s going to give you ongoing photo opportunities for a scrapbook as your mom loses weight, becomes more active, and generally enjoys life more, as she uses her Activ5 to get in better shape.

Why is Activ5 the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift?

Any mom can benefit from it: Whether your mom is super active, could lose a few pounds, or maybe has a health condition, Activ5 will help her:

  • Get stronger
  • Lose weight
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve stamina

Gets her exercising: The CDC suggest that 80% of moms don’t get their recommended amount of exercise. Activ5 is just the thing to get her going again. Why?

  • It’s an easy to use fitness gadget
  • It calibrates to her fitness and strength levels
  • It’s safe for seniors, thanks to isometric exercises
  • The workouts are fast

But, maybe the best reason you should get an Activ5 portable workout device for your mom is that it says “I love you” better than a bouquet of flowers or a bunch of chocolate strawberries. Tell your mom that exercising is the best way to live a longer, healthier, and more productive life. We love you, mom!

Isometric Exercise Benefits: Can Isometrics Help You Quit Smoking?


Isometric Benefits: Can Isometrics Help You Quit Smoking?

If you’re among the nearly 70 percent of U.S. adult smokers trying to give up smoking [1], you’re probably well aware of the benefits. Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer drops 30-50 percent [2], and just one year of not smoking decreases your risk of coronary heart disease by half [3]. While these health benefits and others make a compelling case, it’s not as simple as just quitting cigarettes.

Smoking-cessation aids like nicotine-replacement products, prescription medications, counseling and behavioral therapies [4] can increase the likelihood of success. Even so, cravings and withdrawal symptoms make breaking the smoking habit feel like an impossible challenge. Surprisingly, one practice that can help you to part ways with cigarettes may be one you don’t expect: exercise.

Exercise and Smoking Cessation

A study by the University of Exeter has added weight to the claims that exercise can assist efforts to quit smoking. The research used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans to show how physical activity results in changes in brain processing.  In fact, these changes can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms [5]. Although further study is needed, researchers believe exercise curbs cravings by boosting your mood and/or shifting your blood flow.

Although eliminating cigarettes has a clear benefit, a regular exercise plan can be difficult to incorporate into a busy life. In addition, those new to exercise will have an especially hard time finding the right workout plan that will reduce cravings and fit their schedule. That’s where isometric exercise fits in.

A Study on Isometric Benefits

Another study of the relationship between smoking cessation and exercise concluded that isometric exercise, in particular, was found to reduce the desire to smoke. Furthermore, just 10 minutes of isometric exercises, which involve contractions of specific muscles, measurably lessened cravings and withdrawal symptoms in the study’s participants [6].

There are many advantages to using isometric exercise to curb cravings. These exercises don’t require a long time commitment to complete, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule. They can also be done at any time, at any location, so isometrics are the perfect solution to avoid boredom and deal with cravings throughout your day.

Activ5 and Isometric Benefits

One easy way to introduce isometric exercise into your daily routine and smoking cessation strategy is with the Activ5 device and mobile app. Designed for those short on time and seeking convenient exercises on-the-go, the Activ5 program can help you remain physical and reduce smoking urges. Activ5 coaches you through five-minute workouts that not only help curb urges, but also tone and strengthen your muscles.

Activ5 provides quick bursts of exercise to keep you on track. It also maintains the convenience of isometric exercise, as you can use Activ5 to stay active anytime and anywhere.

To learn more about isometric exercise benefits from the Activ5 portable fitness device, you can watch our videos.  Also, you can get more tips on staying active on the ActivBody blog.

Sources:

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/mmwrs/byyear/2011/mm6044a2/intro.htm

[2] https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/lung-prevention-pdq

[3] http://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK63952/

[5] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210092738.htm

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19563567

5 Steps to Incorporate Yoga into Your Life


More and more people are turning to yoga to become healthier both physically and mentally. Yoga can have many health benefits including improving your muscle strength and tone, increasing your flexibility, protecting your spine and increasing your energy, vitality and mindfulness. 

Of course, starting and maintaining a new habit or routine can be difficult. Behavioral scientists suggest that the best way to create new habits is to start small and build on success.  To help you get started we’ve pulled together five different ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily life right now.

Yoga Stretches at the Office

You’ve probably never imagined lifting weights at the office, but you can easily do yoga while at work. In fact, you don’t even have to bring a yoga mat along. You can perform Chaturanga, plank, upward-facing dog and several other yoga poses right at your office desk.

Take a Community Class

When you hear the words “community class,” you likely envision nighttime lectures focused on gaining a technical degree. As it turns out, though, there are also yoga community classes offered nationally.

Many studios, in fact, offer at least one free weekly class. Once you get involved and meet other participants, you’ll be more inclined to make it a normal part of your routine, if for nothing more than the social benefits.

Practice Yogic Breaths

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ve undoubtedly heard the words “breathe consciously.” While yogic poses may be the most recognizable aspect of yoga, conscious breathing is also central to the practice.

Whether sitting at your desk or waiting in line at a convenience store, consciously controlling your breathing and taking deep breaths will calm your body and mind. This will also help you master the breathing techniques used with poses regardless of where you are.

Work with What You Have

Everyone wants to feel like they’re progressing in their yogic journey by constantly learning and incorporating new poses. Don’t let this drive slow you down. If you only have five minutes, refrain from wasting that time looking up “how-tos.” Use the ones you’ve already memorized and learn new yoga poses when you have more time.

Download Apps that Incorporate Yoga

Mobile apps  will allow you to incorporate yoga into your new routine at a moment’s notice. Instead of downloading an app that only focuses on yoga, however, get a more rounded app.

The Activ5 app, for instance, has five-minute yoga-themed workouts that track your results and personalize your routine. It also uses gamification, so you’re more likely to develop a new routine just to stay competitive. Activ5 also provides other five-minute isometric workouts, which will help you to build a more comprehensive fitness routine.

From increased flexibility to improved cardiovascular health, yoga comes with numerous benefits. Once you start incorporating yoga into your life, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get involved in the first place.

Top 10 Reasons You Need Strength Training


 

75% of US adults don’t achieve the American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control minimum recommendation of 2-3 days of strength training per week. Here are 10 reasons you should engage in strength training every week.

Increases Lean Muscle Mass

There are two types of resistance-based strength training: Isometric Resistance (contracting muscles against non-moving object, such as planking  on floor) and Isotonic (contracting muscles through range of motion, such as bench press with weights). Both increase lean muscle mass, making you stronger and more toned.

Burn More Calories

More calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat. Building muscle can boost your metabolism by as much as 15%.

Increases Resting Metabolic Rate

Muscle tissue is the most metabolically active tissue in your body, and the breakdown of old protein and synthesis of new protein in your muscles accounts for roughly 1/5 of your resting metabolic rate, according to Len Kravitz, Ph.D. for the University of New Mexico.

Protects Bones

Whether you are a man or a woman, you begin to lose ~1% of your bone density every year. “One of the best ways to stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add strength training to your workouts,” advises Troy Tuttle, MS, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

Prevents Injuries

An often overlooked effect of strength training is its benefits for injury prevention. Resistance training helps strengthen muscle and tendons while increasing the flexibility of the ligaments, decreasing the risk of one becoming strained or torn.

Develops Better Body Mechanics

Strength training aids in balance, coordination and posture. If you have poor flexibility and balance, strength training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40%, a crucial benefit, especially as you get older.

Boost Energy and Feel Happy

Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which will make you feel great. This is why people who strength train often refer to getting an “endorphin rush.”

Maintains Long Term Weight Loss

A recent study revealed that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased the amount of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them to maintain their current weight.

Fight Disease

Not only does strength training help you get toned, as you get in shape you also see improvements in your resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, insulin resistance and gastrointestinal transit time. Resistance training can improve stamina, and even help to prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Sleep Better & Be Smarter!

Clinical studies have linked strength training to improved sleep, reduced depression and even better cognitive abilities.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/258368-how-to-raise-your-thermogenic-basal-metabolic-rate/

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/add-strength-training-to-your-workout.aspx

http://athleticlab.com/strength-training-to-prevent-injury-by-morgan-pillsbury/

http://stretchcoach.com/articles/strength-training/

Top 10 Isometric Exercise Benefits


Top 10 Isometric Exercise Benefits

Isometric exercises are proven to help build muscle, strength, balance and range of motion. Other isometric exercise benefits include stress reduction, improved mental health, assistance with yoga exercises and injury avoidance. Here are some of the specific isometric exercise benefits.

Lowers Blood Pressure

•             Isometrics have been proven to reduce systolic blood pressure better than aerobic and resistance training in some studies. – Mayo Clinic

Aids in Weight Loss

•             Isometric exercise benefits include reducing both body fat and weight. In a test group, some subjects lost as much as 22 pounds over a 4-week period. – Journal of Applied Research

Saves You Time

•             Using isometric exercise for 6 minutes would be the equivalent muscle work of 30 to 35 minutes on a commercial weight lifting equipment. – Journal of Applied Research

Reduce Overall Pain

•             Older adults experience significant reduction in pain subsequent to several different intensities and durations of isometric contractions. – Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine

Reduce Back Pain

•             Isometrics reduces pain and increases vitality among women with low back pain, with effects lasting at least 9 months. –  Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Improve Range of Motion

•             Regular isometric exercises have been shown to significantly improve range of motion. – Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research

Quit Bad Habits (Smoking)

•             Brief isometric exercise provides immediate relief in the desire to smoke. –Human Psychopharmacology Journal

Get Stronger and Bigger Muscles

•             Isometric exercise is associated with an increase in muscle bulk, upper and lower body strength, increase in bone density, and a decrease in bone fractures. – The Journal of Clinical Hypertension

 Benefits Over Aerobic Exercise

•             Stretching and aerobic exercising alone have proven to be a less effective form of training than isometric strength training. -Journal American Medical Association (JAMA)

Improve Stamina

•             Isometric strength training can have beneficial effects on performance during endurance events. -European Journal of Applied Physiology

Why Over-Exercising Can Damage Your Health


The idea of “over-exercising” seems counterintuitive, when mantras like “no pain, no gain” encourage the idea of physical fitness as torture rather than an investment in your health. And while most of us don’t get nearly enough exercise, it’s also possible to exercise too much or in a way that puts unhealthy stresses on your body.

The Link Between Stress Hormones, Over-Exercising, and Your Health

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study on the effects of jogging and long-term mortality rates and coronary health. The study confirms what you probably already know. Getting regular exercise is much better for your health and longevity than a sedentary lifestyle (aka “the new smoking”). 

However, this study also illustrated that when it comes to exercising and your health, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Surprisingly, physically intensive workouts actually have a ceiling for increased heart health and longevity. At a certain point, exercising harder for longer periods of time reaps no benefits and can actually be harmful to your health.

Some of the study’s main highlights include:

  • Light to moderate joggers generally live longer than their sedentary, non-jogging counterparts.
  • On the flip side, the mortality rates for strenuous joggers were found to be statistically similar to that of sedentary non-joggers.

The study found a type of sweet spot for running that consisted of no more than three days a week of activity, for a total of one to three hours at a slow to moderate pace.

How Cortisol Affects Your Body and Ability to Effectively Lose (and Keep Off) Weight

If you’ve ever noticed that, despite how much you exercise, you can’t seem to lose weight, you are not crazy. You are also not alone. If you’re like many people, you’ve probably blamed yourself, wondering if you’re not pushing yourself “hard enough.” Science has found that in reality, the opposite is true.

The answer lies in a stress hormone known as cortisol. Known as the “fight or flight” hormone, the adrenal gland releases cortisol as a response to stress. Consistently elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to stubborn belly fat, making it harder to effectively burn fat. In addition to storing fat, cortisol has also been linked to other potentially serious health risks such as:

  • Inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Immune problems
  • Cognitive problems
  • Depression

So what does exercise have to do with the fight or flight hormone? Scientists and researchers believe that the body interprets intensive physical activity above the ideal threshold for health and weight loss as stress. This triggers the production of cortisol, creating a dangerous cycle that makes it difficult to lose weight.

The Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training consists of short bursts of high-intensity exercise alternated with periods of rest and recovery. HIIT also incorporates weight and strength training,  shown to be an essential part of fat burning and weight loss, but often overlooked in favor of intensive cardio. Typical HIIT workouts often include:

  • Sprinting
  • Short Cycling “Sprints”
  • Jumping rope
  • Weight training (with weights and/or body weight exercises)

HIIT workouts provide for a well-rounded and effective full-body workout, making it a great option. In addition to being short and easy to incorporate into a busy schedule, they can be tailored to activities that you actually enjoy. All too often, people sabotage their exercise and wellness plans by focusing on activities they don’t enjoy, leading to ineffective, unsustainable workouts. For example, how many times have you made yourself miserable on a treadmill, when you really enjoy hiking in the outdoors?

HIIT workouts allow you to start with small, manageable steps that you can incorporate into your schedule when convenient, making it more likely to turn your workouts into a regular habit.

Most importantly, in addition to being more convenient, HIIT workouts effectively offer health and wellness benefits, such as:

  • Burning more fat and calories in a shorter amount of time.
  • Continuing to burn fat after your workout by increasing your metabolic rate.
  • Building and strengthening muscle.
  • Reducing heart rate and blood pressure.

Smarter Workouts

Are you ready to get started with a safe and sustainable exercise and strength training routine that fits into your lifestyle and fitness goals? The Activ5 app is the world’s first portable smart strength training device. Activ5 exercises are short – you can complete an Activ5 workout in just five minutes. The device and app adapt the exercises to your fitness level, so each workout is challenging but achievable. The Activ5 coaches you through more than 100 five-minute workouts, measures your strength, and gamifies workouts for a fun, interactive experience. Activ5 makes strength training convenient, fast, fun and effective. Visit www.activ5.com to learn more.

Sources:

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit#section7

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1

http://time.com/3683118/working-out-not-losing-weight/?xid=time_readnext

http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/65/5/411?ijkey=1daf5c212b8f3b61b4d66aabc898186bff82facb&keyt

Isometrics Can Improve Range of Motion


How Isometrics Improve Range of Motion

A sure-fire way to break through a strength plateau is to increase your range of motion. One of the most overlooked and underrated methods to do that is through isometric training. First discovered in the 1950s by researchers Hettinger and Muller, isometrics is where your joint angle and muscle length stay the same during muscle contraction. In essence, your muscles are working but you aren’t actually moving. Although you’re performing little to no movement, isometric training has been proven to increase muscular endurance, strength, and flexibility with surprising effectiveness. But one of the most interesting aspects of isometric exercise is its ability to increase range of motion. Why is this important, you ask? Let us count the ways:

By Increasing Flexibility

Regular isometric exercise significantly improves flexibility which, in turn, contributes to a better range of motion. In Barbosa et al., a resistance training program implemented for elderly women resulted in a significant increase in flexibility. In other words, resistance training without stretching itself increases flexibility all on its own. This result has massive implications for the rehabilitation and physical conditioning of our bodies as we approach the senior stages of life. A further study by Houssein Mohammadi Sanavi et al. found that hamstring muscles of the males in the test group were significantly improved after a six-week program combining isometric contraction with passive stretching. Yet, surprisingly, not only was flexibility increased but also the strength and endurance of the hamstring muscle. Which brings us to our next point…

By Improving Physical Performance

Put simply, isometric exercises will not only increase your flexibility but also make you stronger. A single daily isometric exercise at two-thirds maximum effort for six seconds increases strength by a whopping five percent each week. More curiously, research further revealed that static strength continued to improve even after the conclusion of a program. Not bad results for a week of rest. In Thépaut-Mathieu et al., it was also discovered that subjects had an improvement of muscle contraction at specific training angles that was greater than at other angles (not trained with isometric exercises). So you can be pretty darn confident that isometric exercises will increase flexibility, improve stamina, and produce muscles that are more adaptable, stronger and durable.

By Decreasing Risk of Injury

As flexibility increases and physical performance improves, athletic range of motion is a natural byproduct. You’ll gain a greater sense of coordination and be more able to bend, twist, and avoid injury due to your increased ease of motion. Moreover, since isometric exercise also increases muscular endurance and strength, you’ll be combating early fatigue. And we all know that fatigue is one of the biggest causes of injury whether due to decrease of mental capacity or simply because of clumsy limbs.

How Do I Start Isometrics?

Isometric exercises are straightforward and require no equipment, but it’s sometimes tricky to know where to start. If you’re looking for a bit of guidance, Activ5 is a fantastic way to easily incorporate isometric exercises into a busy fitness schedule. It pairs with your smartphone and coaches you through a full-body strength training workout. It makes integration of an isometric program a no-brainer. You can measure your strength level, gamify your workouts, and track your progress with ease.  That leaves you to just concentrate on your results – and sweating it out, of course!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11834101

https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/working-at-a-stand-still-how-to-do-isometric-training

http://jap.physiology.org/content/64/4/1500

http://www.imedpub.com/articles/the-effects-of-maximum-voluntary-isometric-contraction-durations-in-pnf-training-on-muscle-performance.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15462615

The Benefits of Isometric Exercise and Portable Fitness Devices


For those who wish to continue their weight training while on the move, it can be difficult without the aid of a home gym. But with discipline and the use of a fitness device to track your heart rate and calories burned, the simplicity of location allows for an established routine. In turn, you can more effectively generate muscle growth. If you find yourself in this situation or working from home, you should consider isometric exercises because you can do them anywhere.

Isometric Exercise Tips

Gym memberships provide weight machines for the most common muscle exercises: concentric and eccentric contractions. With these, muscles shorten through lifting loads or lengthen through lowering loads. The third contraction, isometric, occurs through steady muscle tension (think the “planking” challenge). Without challenging the muscle to change its length, the body can activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Two-thirds of a person’s maximum effort performed for six second sets can increase strength by 5% over a period of ten weeks.

You can practice isometric exercise by using your body weight in exercises such as the squat, lunge, and push-up. Instead of completing a full-rep for these, pause halfway through your range of motion. This will work your agonist muscles as well as your antagonist muscles.

With a bench press and squat, you don’t need a load on a bar for your variations. Set the movement of the pins to the mid-range, and where a sticking point may occur, place a second set of pins. For power racks, set the pins at the next height. This exercise is also useful for a deadlift. Simply place more weight than usual for your one-rep and hold for six to eight seconds.

For additional convenience and coaching, consider a portable fitness device. It can track your progress and provide the necessary resistance to increase your strength and endurance.