Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Practice Safe Sets

By: Snap Fitness

It’s important to practice safe sets at the gym. Whether you’re a lifting regularly or new to the process, these tips and techniques will insure safe and effective sets.

                                                              

Breathe.  Make sure you don’t hold your breath.  Your blood pressure can increase during weightlifting to unsafe levels if you hold your breath.  

Lift a suitable amount of weight.  The amount of weight you lift should depend on your goal. To increase muscle size and strength, shoot for 6-8reps.  To increase overall muscular endurance, choose a weight that you can lift 12-15 reps.

Don’t rush.  Don’t jerk the weight up.  Lift and lower the weight in a slow, controlled fashion.  This helps you improve core strength and stability and isolates the muscles you want to work.

Seek balance.  Work all your major muscles including legs, chest, back, shoulders, and arms.  

Be consistent.  Strength training a minimum of three times a week will build muscle and boost metabolism.  

Get a firm footing.  Keep your feet shoulder width apart for a stable base and good balance.

Bend at your knees and hips.  Avoiding simply rounding your spine during strength training bend at hips/knees instead. 

Tighten stomach muscles.  Abdominal muscles support your spine when you lift, off setting the force of the load and protect your back. 

Keep load close.  Don’t hold the load away from your body.  The closer it is to our center of gravity, the less force it places on your spine.

Exercise through the full range of motion.  Perform each exercise through a full range of motion.  This enhances both muscle strength and flexibility.

Store your weights properly.  Watch the way you lift weights out of the rack.  Keep your core strong and lift with your entire body.

Concentration.  To get the best results possible, you need to concentrate on exactly what you are trying to achieve while you are lifting.

Rest.  Make sure to take rest days between workouts of the same muscle group.

 

Time to go lift! Got another piece of advice about lifting? Tell us on our Facebook or Twitter

Full Body Beach Ready Workout

By: Snap Fitness

Would you rather be covered in sweat at the gym, or covered in clothes at the beach? This workout will get your heart pumping which is important for fat burn and will work your muscles to tone up your entire body.

If you do this workout at the gym every day until summer, which is 37 days away, you’ll be beach ready in no time!


Repeat this 2-3 times:

30 Jumping Jacks

10 Push-Ups

20 Calf Raises

:30 Plank

4 Burpees

10 Lunges

20 Butt Kickers

30 Jumping Jacks

30 Russian Twists

:30 Superman

 

What area do you want to tone up before swim suit season? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

4-Step Cooldown

By: Snap Fitness

Just because you’ve finished the “hard part” of your workout doesn’t mean you can pack up and drive home quite yet! A cool-down is a must-do during your post-workout routine. Cool-downs gradually reduce your heart rate and help your body return to a resting state. They also reduce muscle stiffness and soreness. Don’t let sore muscles keep you from getting to the gym! Follow these cool-down steps.

 

Here are four things your cool-down should consist of:

 

Cardio: This doesn’t mean run! Slow your speed to a light pace for five to 10 minutes. This flushes out lactic acid from your muscles, prevents soreness, and aids muscle recovery.

 

Stretch: Spend 30 seconds stretching each major muscle group. If a muscle is especially sore, spend more time on that area. The major muscles include quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, arms, and core.

 

Hydrate: You should be drinking water before, during, and after your workout, but it’s especially important to drink up after you exercise. You need to replenish the water supply you lost during your workout. We recommend you drink 16 ounces per hour of exercise.

 

Replenish: In addition to water, we recommend a recovery shake combination of protein and carbohydrates. Protein rebuilds muscle tissue, while carbohydrates deliver proteins to your cells. Sip down your recovery shake within 30 minutes of your workout to ensure your muscles absorb the nutrients they need.

 

Stick to this cool-down routine and the results will come!

The Importance of a Rest Day

By: Snap Fitness

You're not a skipper, but maybe you should be.

 

We know that muscle grows and repairs itself while resting, so continuous training can actually weaken the strongest of us. Research suggests having a rest day from your normal fitness routine at least once a week. Not only does it benefit your body, but it can help maintain a healthy balance between the gym, your job, and your home.

 

Overtraining can cause more damage than you think. You may have reached a weight-loss plateau and/or have trouble sleeping, a bigger appetite, and other major mood swings. Don't beat yourself up over a day without the gym; it's a reward for your hard work every other day!

New Year's Eve Countdown Workout

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Finish off 2013 with our Countdown Finisher workout! A Finisher is a metabolic boost that is often placed at the end of a workout.  It consists of high intensity movements done with maximal effort.

Start with a 5 minute warm-up on your favorite machine. Once you start the countdown, move from one movement to the next without stopping – good luck!

10 - Burpees

9 – Pushups

8 – Squat Thrusters (Plank position, jump feet to the outsides of hands and repeat, plank to squat for 8 reps)

7 – Jump Squats

6 – Side Plank Dips (each side)

5 – Elbow Plank Pulls (hold elbow plank and pull your body forward and back)

4 – Plank Walks (one elbow down, then the other, one hand to plank, then the other – continue this starting with the right side for 4, then the left side for 4)

3 – Jump Lunges (each leg)

2 – Minute Plank Twist (hold plank or elbow plank for 2 minutes, rotate hips right, dip hip toward the floor, return to center and repeat, alternating sides)

1 – Mile run

Happy New Year!

Winter Workout Apparel Tips

By: Snap Fitness

While the temperature inside your club is always perfect for a workout, sometimes it can refreshing to get outside for a brisk winter run. But before you hit the icy roads, it’s important to make sure you’re dressed for the weather. That’s why we’re sharing three quick winter workout apparel tips to keep you warm and healthy all season long.

1) Check the temperature – Before you head out for a run, walk or any other outdoor activity, take a second to check the temperature, not just at the current moment but for the next hour or two, and remember to look at the wind chill too. You don’t want to be caught off-guard by colder-than-expected temps and find yourself underdressed, and a quick look at the forecast will help you plan the proper outfit for your outdoor endeavor.  

2) Dress in layers – When it comes to dressing for winter, it’s always better to be over prepared. Yes, your body is going to heat up once you start exercising, which means it’s going to feel a lot warmer outside. But once you stop, your body temperature will drop, leaving you cold, sweaty and shivering. By dressing in layers, you can strip away what you don’t need as your body warms up, or put them back on as your body cools down. This also includes face and head wear like hats, scarves, and masks.

3) Be seen – The sun sets a lot earlier in the winter, meaning it gets colder and darker sooner. Make sure you’re wearing bright and reflective gear before you head out running, especially if you’re going to be on public roads with vehicles and other exercisers. Being warm AND being seen are the top two safety tips to remember no matter what type of outdoor workout you’re preparing for.

Perfecting Your Running Form

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

If you’re looking to improve your overall running performance or preparing for a race, it is important to know if your running form is correct. Having proper form can reduce the stress on your body, as well as your race time. Here are a few tips to perfecting your form- from head to toe.

 

Eye contact

Your eyes should be focused on the ground about 10 feet ahead of you. Try to avoid staring at your feet. Always pay attention on what is ahead of you.

 

Land mid-foot

Try to land mid-foot, and roll through to the front of your toes. Landing on your heels or toes can cause excessive fatigue, injury and tight calves. This can also lead to shin splints if not properly fixed.

 

Keep your hands at your waist

Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they lightly brush your hips. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle. Beginners have a tendency to hold their hands up by their chest, especially as they fatigue. You may also increase tension in your shoulders and neck if your arms are pulled too high.

 

Relax your hands

As you run, keep your arms and hands as relaxed as possible. You can gently cup your hands, as if you are holding an egg and you don't want to break it. Avoid clenching your fists as this can lead to tightness in the arms, shoulders, and neck.

 

Check your posture

Think; head up, back straight, and shoulders level. Keep your shoulders under your ears and maintain a lifted and lengthened spine. Avoid leaning forward. When you're tired at the end of your run, it's common to slouch, which can lead to neck, shoulder, and lower-back pain. Avoid slouching by keeping your eyes focused forward and your chest lifted. This will also improve breathing mechanics and efficiency.

 

Don't bounce

Try to avoid too much up and down movement- rather, focus on driving your body forward. Take quick, light, steps that will leave you feeling energized and capable of running further.

Workout: Perfecting The Bench Press

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

The bench press is a great way to work the chest, as well as the shoulders and triceps. Avoid injury and work the proper muscles by using these simple tips. You might consider using a spotter if you are challenging yourself with a heavier weight or added reps. 

 

Choose one of the three hand grips to change the focus of muscle groups and to vary the intensity:


Normal grip – is the best place to start. Set hands so they are slightly wider than shoulder width apart.


Close grip – will challenge your triceps a bit more. Plan on using a lighter weight to start with.

 

Wide grip – will challenge the stability of your shoulder joint the most. Practice normal or close grip before starting with wide.

 

1. Lie back on the bench and plant your feet onto the floor. Avoid placing your feet onto the bench as this will require more core stability and not generally safe if this is your first go at the bench press. Feet on the floor will ensure torso stability and keep your focus on chest, shoulders and triceps. Determine your hand grip, press the bar upward and off the rack. 

 

2. Lower the bar toward your chest with control. Avoid resting the bar onto the chest to avoid additional strain at the shoulder joint. 

 

3. Press the bar straight upward with an exhale.

 

4. Avoid locking the elbows at the top of the movement.


 

Try to keep spine and shoulders supported and in good alignment on the bench. Straining through low back or neck and shoulders may indicate too much weight and/or fatigue. If this happens, adjust the weight or reps and try again.

The Hunger Games Workout

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Prepare to compete in the 75th Annual Hunger Games by knowing the strengths, weaknesses and training styles of your competitors. You will be required to build stamina, strength, flexibility and agility in order to survive as Victor! Tour the districts and learn more about their industries along the way.

 

To start: Complete 5 minutes on a cardio piece of your choice. The workout was designed on an Octane Elliptical but, you can choose from any piece of cardio equipment - as long as you have space behind the equipment to perform the strength interval. Also, choose a pair of dumbbells that will challenge you to complete 20 total repetitions with good form. 

 

 

After completing the 5 minute warm up:

 

20 reps – Jump Squats (District 13 - Nuclear Power Industry)

 

Though we don’t recognize District 13 in our Annual Hunger Games celebration, we’ll pay them recognition by performing the “Jump Squat”. Start with feet shoulder-width apart and squat down so your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Complete this move by jumping up high reaching towards the ceiling.

 

 

 

1min – Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Coal Digger Twist (District 12 – Coal Industry)

 

The citizens of District 12 are constantly working their bodies down in the mines. We can learn from their example by performing the “Coal Digger Twist”. Hold the dumbbell overhead firmly and lower it down to one side as you lower into a squat. Go back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Alternate for 20 total repetitions on each side.  

 

 

1min – Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Bent-Over Row (District 11 – Agriculture)

 

Simulating the field work that the people of District 11 do daily, give your back, core and biceps a good workout with the “Bent-Over Row”. Bend your knees slightly while holding two dumbbells. Lower your arms toward the floor. Keep your back straight, pull your arms back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to starting position and repeat.

 

 

1min – Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Wrangler Twist (District 10 – Livestock)

 

Controlling herds of cattle is no easy feat and no one knows that better than the hard workers of District 10. Simulate one of their most strenuous tasks by trying the “Wrangler Twist”. Lunge one foot forward while holding a single dumbbell firmly in front of you. Move it from side-to-side at a comfortable speed, engaging your torso and obliques as you alternate.

 

 

1min -  Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Plank Row (District 9 – Grain, Agriculture)

 

Fellow District 9 tributes can get a good arm workout from harvesting. Lean forward with one hand planted on your cardio machine or weight bench. Fully extend your arm with dumbbell in hand, then bring it to your side, squeezing your shoulder blade as you go. Return to starting position and repeat for 10 reps. Complete 10 repetitions with the opposite arm.

 

 

1min - Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Press It (District 8 – Textiles)

 

Spending your days in a factory like the people of District 8, you’re likely to use your arms repetitively. While this might be aggravating work, it can lead to impressive upper-body strength. Setup in a plank position with one dumbbell under each hand. Maintain torso length and strength. Lower down into a pushup. As you press up, pull one dumbbell up to the side.  Repeat the pushup and the pull with the opposite arm.

 

 

1min - Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Back Lunge Break (District 7 – Lumber)

 

Workout like the lumberjacks of District 7 by trying out the “Back Lunge Break”. Hold one dumbbell with two hands above your head. As you lunge forward, bring the dumbbell down to your side as if you were chopping wood. Repeat this move alternating legs.

 

 

 

1min - Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Jump Lunges (District 6 – Transportation)

 

Like the citizens of District 6’s transportation industries, we know that our bodies take a lot of momentum to keep up with our competition! Jump high in the air landing in a lunge position. From there, jump back up in the air while switching leg positions and lunging with the opposite leg. Use your arms to help keep your balance.

 

 

1min - Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Power Pushup (District 5 – Power)

 

Use your body’s internal energy by dropping down to all fours and performing a “Power Pushup”. In a plank position with hands together, lower into a pushup. As you pushup, try to “jump” your hands apart. Lower into a pushup and land with your hands together. Repeat for 20 reps. 

 

 

1 min - Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Fly Bridge (District 4 – Fishing)

 

The Fishermen of District 4 know that reeling in the largest catch means having good arm strength while maintaining a decent core! Lie down and lift up your seat while balancing your body using your upper back and feet. Holding two dumbbells, allow your arms to stretch out to the sides (with a slight bend in them). Pull hands together to engage the chest and return to the starting position. 

 

 

1min - Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Squat with Tricep Kickback (District 3 – Mechanical Power)

 

Simulate the tinkerers of District 3 by trying the “Squat Tricep Kickback”. Squat down in your invisible chair while holding two dumbbells. Channel your inner mechanic by alternating each dumbbell behind your back to give your triceps a good workout.

 

 

1min - Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Bricklayer Blast (Push Press) (District 2 – Masonry)

 

The tributes from District 2 will have excellent upper-body and arm strength from years of masonry work and you should too! Practice with the “Bricklayer Blast” technique by squatting down and holding two dumbbells to either side like a shoulder press. Squat down and lower the dumbbells toward your shoulders. Stand up as you press the dumbbells overhead. Repeat.

 

 

1min - Elliptical sprint to next district

 

20 reps – Posh Press (District 1 – Luxury Items)

 

The tributes from District 1 are trained fighters. Show them what you’ve got by mastering the “Posh Press”. Stabilize your legs by placing one foot in front of you, and one behind, holding two dumbbells at your chest, ready for battle. Punch one dumbbell forward, pull it back to your chest and repeat by alternating sides. 

 

 


Now you’re ready to compete in the Games! Try these workouts again and challenge yourself next time by adding more weight and reps! With dedication and persistence, you too can stand a chance in life’s arena. May the odds of a fantastic workout be ever in your favor!

Perfecting The Russian Twist

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

The russian twist is a challenging abdominal exercise that incorporates all the muscles of the core: low back, abs, obliques, diaphragm, and inner thighs. Unlike crunches in which your rest your back on the floor between reps, the russian twist forces you to hold your spine off the floor the entire time.

 

1- To begin, sit with your feet on the floor and knees bent and your torso at a 45 degree angle. Keep your abs engaged to hold this angle.

 

2- Hold your fists together with your elbows tucked into your body. Like a boxer holding a pose.

 

3- Twist your torso from side to side. As you twist, exhale to better pull your abs in and support the spine.

 

For added intensity, hold a light weight, medicine ball, or lift your feet a few inches from the floor. This will not only add arm strength, but also strengthens the torso and obliques ( waistline or sides of the torso).

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