Mar 21

Basic Terminology in Weight Training

Weight training is one of the best ways to shape up and lose weight. The benefits of weight training are too numerous to mention here. The purpose of this article is to help you understand the terminology of weight training so that you can better understand your trainer or salesperson.

Perhaps you have thought about joining a gym. Perhaps you have called and inquired about cost, operating hours, whether or not someone would be available to help you or any other number of things.

Perhaps you had your eye on a piece of exercise equipment and went and talked to a “salesman” at a department store. Either way you were probably hammered with some terms you did not understand.

The gym tends to have a language of its own and this article is intended to help you with weight lifting terminology. Here are some of the basics terms:

Routine – The series of exercises that you complete make up your routine. A whole body routine can be done in one day and repeated several times per week, but more than likely a routine will be broken up for Monday, Wednesday, Friday or any other combinations of days.

Sometimes a routine will be 2 on 2 off or some other combinations of days. (Workout Monday and Tuesday and then be off Wednesday and Thursday, workout Friday and Saturday, and then off Sunday and Monday, etc. etc.)

Remember when you are designing a routine or a personal trainer is designing you a routine; keep in mind that your body needs time to recuperate between workouts.

Repetitions – Remember in gym class when the teacher said “Do 25 jumping jacks”? Each jumping jack was a repetition. When a personal trainer is designing you an exercise routine more than likely they will base the number of repetitions they prescribe to you upon your particular goals.

Sets – If you do 25 jumping jacks and then rest a minute and do 25 more – you have completed two sets of 25 repetitions. A set is performing the prescribed number of repetitions and then resting. Sometimes a personal trainer will recommend one set per exercise and sometimes they will recommend numerous sets. Again, this depends on your particular goals.

Plate – If your personal trainer tells you to slap another plate on the bar what they are referring to is another weight. Plates come in 2.5, 5, 10, 25, 35, and 45 pound and higher increments.

Spot – Anyone ever ask you if you need a spot? A spot is simply assistance or someone watching out for you while you complete a set. Your personal trainer will be your full time spot or you can simply ask someone in the gym.

Partner – A partner is simply someone that you work out with.

Free weights – Free weights are weights that are not attached to a machine. You physically load the weights unto a bar.

Machines – Weight lifting machines are usually “pin selected” meaning you put a pin in to select the poundage you want to lift. Machines are different from free weights in that you usually don’t have to balance the weight.

The weight moves along a path that the machine’s mechanics determine. Machine lifting is generally safer than free weights but in lifting free weights you tend to develop your “stabilizer” muscles because not only do you have to lift the weight but you also must control it.

Rack – Sometimes referred to as the “rack” the power rack can be used for many exercises. It is the big metal contraption you see over in the corner with holes drilled up both sides so that you can slide a safety bar in. Power racks can be used for squats and chin ups and many other exercises.

Circuit routine – A circuit routine combines cardiovascular exercise with weight training. A circuit routine is a routine where you would perform numerous exercises back to back without resting.

A sample routine could be 25 jumping jacks followed by 25 push-ups followed by 25 squat thrusts all without resting. When you have finished the squat thrusts you would have completed one circuit. Your personal trainer may put you on a circuit routine to help you burn more calories while you tone up.

Negative – Sometimes you hear someone in the gym say something like “Do two negatives!” What they are talking about is most easily described as the “lowering of the weight”.

If I press a weight overhead – The process of pressing it is considered the “positive” portion of the rep. When I lower the weight – that is the negative part of the rep. The negative part of the repetition is very important when it comes to resistance training.

A partner will help you with the positive part of the rep and you control the negative. These are usually completed after some exhaustion has occurred in an effort to create more muscle breakdown.

Some of the body parts that may not be self-explanatory:

Pecs – Refers to your chest

Lats – Refers to the muscles in your back that flare out

Hams – hamstrings

Glutes – Butt muscles

Traps – The muscles that go from your neck to your shoulders. Shrug and say “I don’t know what he is talking about” and you just used your traps.

Bi’s – Biceps

Tri’s – Triceps

Quad’s – Quadriceps or the muscles on the front of your legs

Delts – Your deltoid or shoulder muscles. Usually defined by rear, middle or front.

Abs – Stomach or Abdominal muscles.

I do hope that you have learned something from this article. Get to moving and enjoying the many benefits of weight training. Be stronger, leaner, and more confident starting tomorrow!

I wish for you the best of health!

Mar 14

Common Mistakes That People Are Making As They Are Working Out

Diet and Exercise are the inseparable twins that are seen and heard everywhere weight loss and fat loss are mentioned. This article will focus on techniques and tips that will help you to maximize the time you spend exercising.

According to a survey of 3,000 professionals certified by the American Council on Exercise, there are ten common mistakes that people are making as they are working out at the gym or at home.

Not stretching enough. Before we begin a workout, it is very important to stretch. According to the survey, you can help to prevent injury by stretching before and once again immediately following a workout.

Working out with too much weight. Lifting more weight than you can handle will almost guarantee an injury of some sort. Injuries cause setbacks, which create delays and can completely disrupt the establishing of a new workout habit. Go easy on yourself to begin with. Increase weight slowly over time.

Neglecting to warm up before a workout. Just like old, rusty parts on a machine, muscles that have not been used lose their flexibility and elasticity. Take time to allow your muscles to adjust to the workout by warming up. Start slowly and ease into your maximum workout intensity.

Forgetting to cool down after a workout. Take some time to ease your heart-rate back to normal. Stretch your muscles again encouraging the blood to flow through the regions you have just worked. Doing so will help you feel better after your workout and will better prepare you for your next workout.

Working out too intensely. A slow and steady approach is better than racing out of the gate. Your exercise will be more effective and you’ll build a better foundation upon which more weight and/or more repetitions can be added.

Not drinking enough water. Water is the vehicle that your body uses to carry waste out of the body and to keep you cool. If you don’t properly hydrate, you’ll ache more and feel worse. Don’t let thirst be your guide. Drink water well before thirst sets in.

Leaning too heavily on a stair stepper. Doing so can be harmful to your back and wrists. Try decreasing the intensity of the session to the point where you can keep good posture and only lightly rest your hands on the rails. Once you’ve mastered this speed, you can increase from that point on.

Not exercising with enough intensity. Assuming you are properly hydrated, your exercise should be intense enough to cause you to lightly perspirate. Check your heart rate to see that you are getting it into the target zone. If you don’t know yours, first calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Your target zone should be sixty to ninety percent of that number.

Jerking while lifting weights. Jerking weights is a sign that you are using too much weight or too many reps. An exercise must be done correctly to be beneficial. Jerking weights is your body’s attempt to use your back (or some other stronger muscle group) to compensate for a lack of strength elsewhere.

Eating energy bars and drinking sugary sports drinks. These items are very helpful for extreme athletes who are working out more than two hours at a time. If you are like the average exerciser and you consume these items, you’re really only creating more work for yourself down the road.

Do what works for you, but if the fear of not being able to tie your own shoes the day after your first workout is keeping you from exercise, you may want to give it a shot!

Mar 07

How to Choose a Camping Tent

Choosing a Camping TentA good camping tent should keep you dry, comfortable, and provide protection. Which camping tent (Dome, family, 4-season, backpacking or cabin) is right for you? They don’t repel rain, cold, snow, or biting bugs equally.

Camping tents are an important outdoor gear investment. This article will give you the information you need to make an informed decision about what kind is best for you.

First determine what type of camping you’ll be doing? Do you only go out in the summer or are you into 4-season camping? Make sure to prepare yourself for the worst possible type of weather you’ll encounter.

Waking up to a foot of snow inside your summer camping tent because of a late fall blizzard isn’t much fun. After determining what seasons you’ll need your tent for, estimate how many people you will usually camp with.

Sizing it up

Camping tents are rated by the number of people they can accommodate. When they say it’s a 4-person tent, they mean 4 people and nothing else, no hiking gear, no room for boots, just 4 people that hopefully know each other pretty well.

Seriously, if you’re looking for backpacking tents or hiking tents and weight is a big concern, then get cozy and use the rating system, but otherwise I’d think bigger. Consider going 1-2 sizes bigger than what you need for a smaller camping tent.

Better yet divide the “person rating” by 2 so you’ll have a decent amount of room if you have to stay inside due to nasty weather. If you thought cabin fever was bad wait until you’re stuck in a downpour with 5 other people in a small tent for a few days.

Consider the length and width of the camping tents you’re looking at. If you’re 6 feet tall you’ll want at least 7 feet to stretch out length-wise and 2-3 feet of width depending on how much you move in your sleep.

Another thing to consider is to make sure you have enough space for an inflatable air mattress. While it’s not mandatory I’ll have to say it makes camping much more comfortable than lying on a cold pad.

Feb 28

Knives Throwing Sport

Knives Throwing SportWhat makes knives throwing so interesting is that it is challenging yet simple. You are working with one of the most fundamental tools human kind has benefited from for thousands of years.

Really, when it comes down to it, a knife is not a complex instrument. It is a piece of metal, or obsidian, or even wood, which is designed to cut. Sure, there are knives that are more advanced than that, but the fundamental concept is the same.

While the instrument is basic, the art of throwing is not. It is extremely difficult to throw a knife over a long distance and have it “stick” its target. Depending on your individual talent, it could even take weeks before you are able to nail this down on your own.

But when you do, you will immediately feel the reward. There is something in us that naturally reacts positively to the success of sticking a blade. Maybe it is because this is the kind of thing we had to do to survive for thousands of years. Maybe it is just a more typical sense of accomplishment.

The best way to get started with this fun and exciting hobby is to purchase some cheap / inexpensive throwing knives. Don’t start out with the best, because you’ll probably break quite a few of them when you are first earning. This is because it’s easy to miss and when you do you could hit cement, rocks, or other hard objects that will dent, crack, or scratch your knife.

As you learn more and you begin to stick your blade to the target on a regular basis, you can start to purchase more expensive throwing knives. What you’ll notice as you make the upgrade is that the blades are more balanced and aerodynamic. They will seem to float off your finger tips and into the target. Sometimes, but not always, the blades will even be more durable.

If you decide to give this hobby a try, please, please be careful. You should always follow the strictest safety precautions. Use protective eye gear, stay away from other people, do not throw at something that could cause the knife to ricochet and hit you, carry a first aid kit, etc. Be safe, and have fun learning this uniquely human hobby.