exercises

The Four Exercises To Reduce Lower Back Pain And Strengthen Core

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Low-back pain is a potentially debilitating issue that affects most active people at some point in their lives. One major downside of having low-back pain is how difficult it is to exercise and achieve your fitness goals, such as finally getting that flat tummy you’ve always wanted. Luckily, there is one exercise that can reduce low-back pain while simultaneously flattening your stomach — the plank

Because the plank exercise requires minimal movement while contracting all layers of the abdominal fascia, it is an excellent way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low-back pain. As the deep abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section tightens. When done properly, the plank not only uses the deep abdominal muscles, it also recruits the hip, shoulder and upper-back muscles.

HOW TO DO AN EFFECTIVE PLANK:

  1. Hold the elbows directly under the shoulders and place the wrists in line with the elbows.
  2. Push your body up into your upper back and hold your chin close to your neck (like you’re holding an egg between your chin and your throat).
  3. In this position, brace your abdominals—contract them like expecting a punch in the stomach, squeeze your gluteal (tailbone) and thigh muscles simultaneously while continuing to breathe normally.
  4. Hold a plank at least 20 to 30 seconds. (When using correct form, it is not necessary to hold it for longer than this amount of time.)
  5. Rest for approximately one minute and repeat three to five more times.
  6. Start doing the plank using the elbows and toes (feel free to drop to your knees if necessary) and progress up to a high plank when you feel you have developed the necessary strength.

COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING THE PLANK:

  • Allowing the hips, head or shoulders to drop
  • Holding both hands together (creating internal rotation and instability at the shoulder joint)
  • Holding your breath
  • Trying to hold the contraction too long—it is more preferable to hold optimal alignment for a shorter period of time than to hold a poor position for an extended period of time.

PLANK WITH HIP FLEXION/EXTENSION

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Raise the right leg approximately 6 to 8 inches, hold for five seconds and then alternate legs. Start with three to four repetitions and gradually increase over time.
  3. To increase the level of difficulty, raise the right and then bring the right knee up to the outside of the right elbow; return to the starting position. Alternate legs for three to five repetitions.

PLANK WITH THORACIC SPINE ROTATION

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Press the right hand into the ground, rotate both feet and hips to the left while raising the left arm off of the ground. Rotate the left arm down, then repeat the move to the other side, pushing the left hand into the ground and rotating the right arm up.
  3. Repeat for three to six repetitions on each side.

SIDE PLANK WITH FULL EXTENSION

  1. The first level of progression is to perform the side plank with the elbow directly under the shoulder. It is important to make sure the body is properly aligned and to enhance stability by contracting the abdominals (like preparing for a punch) and squeezing the glutes (butt) and thighs while pressing both legs together. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and alternate sides.
  2. From a side -ying position, press the right hand into the ground, and fully extend the arm while pushing both legs together and keeping the side of the right foot pressed into the ground. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and alternate sides.

PLANK-UP

  1. Start in a standard high-plank position.
  2. Drop the right arm down to the right elbow, then drop your left arm down to the left elbow; hold for three seconds. Return to the starting position by placing first the right hand and then the left hand on the ground. Repeat for three to five repetitions.

All structures require a strong foundation for optimal stability, and the human body is no exception. Improving strength of the deep abdominal muscles helps establish a solid foundation for the human structure. To enhance core strength, reduce low-back pain and flatten the stomach, it is important to use exercises, such as the plank, that co-contract all layers of abdominal fascia at the same time. For specific advice on how to do these exercises or any others, sign up for one on one private boxing sessions with Malibu Boxing.

11 Most Common Myths On Fitness, Exercises And Workouts

1. When You Stop Working Out, Muscles Will Turn Into Fat

It’s the most typical workout myth in the world. Muscle has never and will never turn into fat and neither does fat turn into muscle. During weight training, more energy is required, hence a bigger appetite. When a person stops working out, the need for extra energy stops as well. But because the stomach size has increased due to a bigger appetite, the need to feel full has become a habit. Those extra calories that were once used as fuel while training is now stored as fat. It may seem like the bulk of muscle has turned into fat, but the truth is that the body became fatter due to eating more than previously needed.

Be it protein or carbohydrates, both turns into fat when not used. Cutting back on training requires you to cut back on food consumption as well.

2. Food Eaten After 8 At Night Will Turn Into Body Fat

Not entirely true. For people who workout during the later part of a day, it is important to eat accordingly. Whenever there is a need for the body to repair and rebuild, fuel is needed and the body most actively repairs during during sleep. However, it is more important to eat healthier foods during the later part of a day like lean meat, unsaturated fats, vegetables and fruits to avoid the risk of unwanted fat deposits. Give the body at least 2 hours to digest the food before going to bed.

3. Six Pack Abs Equal Six Hundred Sit Ups And Crunches Daily

Everyone has six pack abs. Abdominal exercises do not lead to clearly visible six pack abs but fat reduction does. The first place that fat goes to in the body, is the last place fat comes off (tummy for men and hips, butt, and thighs for women). Spot reduction of fat has never and will never work. A whole-body workout like cardio boxing is a great example of a fat reduction workout.

A six pack abs is a definite want for any man working out for it is a social muscle. Ab exercises will definitely strengthen and tone the abs but does not rid the fat. A better use of time would be to spend it on interval cardio sessions and making sure that proper food is fed to the body.

I actually have a personal digital body fat analyzer that I use from time to time that gives me a rough idea of my body’s current state. Accuracy may not be as good as a DXA but it’s good enough for me. You can easily get one at less than $US 10 from online auction sites like ebay.

4. Stretching And Warm Up Isn’t Necessary

I hit the gym everyday. And everyday I’ll take up 10 minutes to stretch and warm up my body from head to toe. It is necessary to avoid sprains and injuries. Even after a good day’s workout, I stretch. It greatly reduces the severity of DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness, which will be pretty much appreciated the morning after.

5. Supplements Will Boost Muscle Growth And Strength In No Time

There are only 2 ways to make the most gains in mass and might.

  • A good training program.
  • A well planned out diet.

Time and energy should be focused on the 2 methods mentioned above rather than on supplements that claim to be able to bring out the Arnold in you. Some supplements may have serious and irreversible side effects if taken wrongly. For example, steroids taken wrongly may lead to a loss of appetite, constipation, intestinal irritation, vomiting, nose bleeding, headaches, increased aggression and even liver cancer. It’s way better to attain the results we want naturally. Think safe, think long term. Our body’s health should not be taken lightly.

6. Your Body Weakens With Age

It’s all in the mind. Think old and you’ll look old and act old. The fact is, exercise doesn’t only improve your physique and rejuvenates your spirit, but also gives you a healthy perspective on people and the world around. 

With regular exercise, training and a low-fat diet, you’ll gain increased energy levels, leaner body mass and an optimum body fat percentage. With the big 90 around the corner, people still do experience renewed strength, increased mobility, stronger bones and greater flexibility by exercising.

7. The Longer Time I Spend At The Gym, The Fitter I Become

It's different for each person, but for me, it’s no longer than 30 minutes 5 times a week with a 15 minute warmup and 15 core exercise and stretching at the end of the workout. The focus here is on efficiency and effectiveness that works every muscle in your body. An average bodybuilder does not spend more than 1 hour working out. People who just don’t have the time to workout that much will lose interest and motivation to exercise, if the myth were true. The point is, any exercise, at all, done correctly is better than none.

8. If I Don’t Feel Pain In The Morning, I Didn’t Work Out Hard Enough

When we exercise or lift weights, our muscle fibers will tear a little. Muscle soreness is expected, but normally heals within a week. Anything more than a week is an indication of over working out. Committing to a fitness program will eventually lead the muscle into getting used to it. Changing a fitness program regularly will ensure that all muscles are worked on and experiencing growth.

However, what happens in the gym is only meant to PROMOTE muscle growth. The REAL process begins only when a person is RECOVERING. Pain should not be used as a measurement of a workout session’s effectiveness. Some soreness, yes, but not pain. Always remember to stretch before and after. Get enough rest and work on different muscle groups on different days. Rest a day if the muscles are still sore.

9. Avoid Drinking Water When Your Body Is Over Heated

An average human body’s water content is 60% for men and 55% for women. In my body, 86 out of 143 pounds are water. If the body’s water content drops 5%, it’s already considered dehydration. An hour of vigorous exercise is enough to drain a quart (~1 liter). Drinking before, during and after is pretty important.

During exercise, muscles generate heat that will cause a rise in body temperature. This heat is doused by water when it is carried in the bloodstream and pushed to the surface as bullets of sweat. It continues to drain water from the body until it is replenished. Thirst is already a sign of dehydration. Drinking water keeps the muscles oiled and the body productive. Here's how much water should you drink.

10. The Prime Time For Exercising And Working Out Is In The Mornings

Correction. The best time to exercise is the time that works with the individual’s body clock and fits their busy days. People working out in the morning are more likely to stick to their fitness plans as they are able to get it in before the various demands of life compete for their time.

Many, many people believe that the best way to lose fat is to start pushing your body right after waking up in the mornings, on an empty stomach. I say no. Exercise is meant for toning the muscle and burning fat. Inability to draw energy from the main source will only force the body to go to other sources of energy, which are your muscles and fat. More muscles are used up as fuel as their composition is much simpler compared to fat.

11. It Is Okay To Cover A Week’s Worth Of Workout During The Weekend

It’s much better spreading a workout all over the week instead of pounding the body during weekends. A weekend warrior will lose out on other health benefits. Blood pressure and glucose levels are temporarily lowered during each exercise, which are beneficial in the long run. Exercising regularly also keeps a person’s appetite consistent.

 

Train Like a Boxer: 10 Exercises to Get You in Fighting Shape

I’ve always loved the sport of boxing.

When I was younger, I punched a few holes in the wall (sorry, mom and dad), and pretty soon afterwards my parents bought me a punching bag (which is all I always wanted anyway, guess I should have brought that up sooner).

I had no idea what I was doing then when I tried to punch the damn thing—all I knew was that boxers were always in incredible shape and really badass, and I wanted to be just like them.

Fast forward a few years later, I got my personal training certification and got a job at a gym in New York City solely based on the fact that it had a boxing ring and an awesome, incredibly badass trainer. I started taking lessons right away, and quickly learned all my hooks, jabs, and undercuts. I fell even deeper in love with the sport.

There’s something so satisfying, so primal in a way, of punching something (or someone) as hard as humanly possible.

And there’s no doubt about it—being in the ring is exhausting. You have to be able to outlast your opponent until the bitter end, so there’s no option but to be as fit as possible. Heck, even just a few rounds on a punching bag will leave you sweaty and breathless.

But whether or not you have any desire to punch anything, it’s hard to avoid the reality that boxers are in some of the best shape of any athletes. Never bulky, boxers tend to have a lean, athletic look based on being incredibly strong, well-conditioned, and full of passion and fire.

Because when you train like a fighter, you’ll build the strength, crazy endurance, and core power so that if you wanted to punch someone round after round, you could.

Here are 10 exercises you can do to get in fighting shape:

Jump rope

Jumping rope is one of the classic boxing exercises, because it helps build a lean, strong body, aids in coordination, agility, and footwork, and boosts endurance like nearly no other exercise does. Plus, since jump ropes are so portable, you can literally do it anywhere.

Here are some jump rope variations you can try:

  • Single jumps
  • High knees
  • Double jumps
  • Figure eights

Burpees

Burpees are pretty much the best exercise ever, and will increase your strength and endurance like no other exercise will. Plus, all that getting up and down is helpful in the ring (if you ever get knocked down, that is).

How to do it:

  1. Get into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
  2. Kick your feet back into a push up position and lower body to the floor.
  3. Return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible.
  4. Immediately jump up into the air as high as you can.
  5. Add a little clap for pizazz!

Sit ups

Boxers need a strong core to give them the strength to keep throwing punches, and sit ups are one of the classic exercises to build up core strength in the ring.

How to do it:

  1. Lay on the floor with your legs spread in a butterfly setup.
  2. Stretch your arms in front of you.
  3. Use your abs to pull yourself off of the floor.
  4. Touch your feet with your hands, making sure to keep your chest forward.
  5. Lower back down and repeat.

Tip: Try different variations of the sit up, such as throwing punches at the top of a sit up to build even more core strength and endurance.

Shadow boxing

It may seem wimpy if you’ve never tried it, but shadow boxing is one of the best ways to practice your movement and footwork as a boxer. Plus, it’s more tiring that you might imagine.

Push ups

Push ups are awesome and will also give you strong arms, shoulders, chest and core muscles. Plus, they require no equipment whatsoever, so you have no excuse not to do them!

How to do it:

  1. Start in a push up position, with your shoulders directly over your hands.
  2. Tighten your abs, glutes and thighs.
  3. Lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor.
  4. Push yourself back up into the starting position and repeat.

Beginner Modification:

  1. Start in a push up position with your knees on the floor.
  2. Tighten your abs, glutes and thighs.
  3. Lower yourself down so that your chest touches the floor.
  4. Push yourself back up into the starting position and repeat.

Chin ups/pull ups

Not only are chin ups and pull ups totally badass, they’ll build up your arm, chest, back, shoulder and core strength like no other. Can’t do a single one yet? Learn how to start doing chin ups and pull ups.

How to do it:

  1. Start from a dead hang with straight elbows, palms facing you for chin ups, palms facing away for pull ups
  2. Keeping your chest up and your shoulders back, squeeze your glutes and cross your feet
  3. Pull yourself up so that your chin rests over the bar
  4. Lower down and repeat.

Squats

Squats will strengthen your legs and glutes so you can bob, weave, and slip (typical boxing defenses) all day long. A strong lower body is just as—or maybe more—important than a strong upper body during a fight.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Pull your shoulders back and engage your abs.
  3. Push your butt & hips back as if you were sitting in a chair.
  4. Keep your weight on your heels.
  5. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, raising your arms up as you lower down.
  6. Repeat.

Tip: for an extra challenge, try Sandbag squats or Kettlebell front squats. Or, if you have access to a barbell and weights, feel free to use that too.

Shoulder presses

Fighters need strong shoulders if they want to be able to keep punching round after round. And shoulder presses will help build up shoulder strength and endurance.

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight (preferred to sitting) holding a sandbag, dumbbells, or a barbell at your waist.
  2. Raise the sandbag (or other weights) up to your shoulders, keeping your shoulders pulled back and your abs tight.
  3. Straighten your arms at a moderate pace.
  4. Lower back down to your shoulders and repeat.

Walking lunges

Not only will walking lunges build strength in your legs, glutes and core muscles, they’ll also help with balance and flexibility—key requirements for any fighter.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a lunge position with your knees touching or almost touching the floor.
  2. Without pausing, alternate legs, bringing your opposite leg forward into a lunge position.
  3. Continue alternating legs while moving forward.
  4. For an added challenge, hold something heavy.

Knees to elbows

Though sit ups are awesome because you can do them anywhere with no equipment, knees to elbows will give you an even stronger core. And they’ll help you build up to even cooler abs exercises, such as toes to knees, windshield wipers.

How to do it:

  1. Grip the pull up bar with your palms facing away from you, arms shoulder-width apart.
  2. Adding a slight swing, bring your knees up to your chest, touching your elbows if possible.
  3. Lower down and repeat.

AUTHOR: KRISTA @ 12 MINUTE ATHLETE

Boxing Workouts With Lifting

Boxing demands a high level of cardiovascular capacity, but excelling also requires strength. While strategy, footwork and overall fitness are important for boxing, you often will need to be able to overpower your opponents. Incorporating weightlifting into your workouts to prepare for boxing matches can be quite effective. Boxing workouts differ significantly from workouts for bodybuilding and other activities, so you may have to try new techniques and exercises. Always exercise with proper supervision.

Legs

All of your power for punching begins with your legs. The muscles of your legs help you push off of the ground and provide force, so you should prioritize exercises for your legs. Weightlifting exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and leg presses can help you build strength in your legs to help you move quickly around the ring and apply more force to your punches. As a boxer, you may also wish to do jump squats and jumping rope to improve foot speed and agility.

Core

Your core - namely, your abdominal muscles, back muscles and hip flexors - play several roles in boxing. Your core muscles help to transfer power from your lower body to your upper body, promoting stronger punches. Additionally, strong abdominal muscles will help cushion your midsection against punches and help promote balance and stability, both of which are important for boxing. You can work your core muscles with exercises such as weighted crunches, bridges, lying leg lifts and planks. Although many traditional workout plans don't include weighted abdominal exercises, these are important to build maximal strength for boxing.

Arms

Your arm strength influences punching power. Working your biceps and triceps will help you tone your arms and deliver more force when you strike. Perform barbell and dumbbell curls, triceps pushdowns and the military press. To meet the needs of boxing, include plyometric exercises, which consist of explosive movements. These type of exercises mimic the explosive power you need for boxing. Plyometric exercises such as explosive pushups and overhead medicine ball throws can help strengthen your arms.

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Chest and Shoulders

Your chest muscles help coordinate and connect the motion of your shoulders and back muscles. A strong chest will allow you to get the most power into your punches. Your shoulders help rotate your arms and offer force for punches. Performing exercises such as dumbbell flys, bench presses and pushups will help strengthen your chest muscles. Military presses and shrugs will help work your shoulders. While many of these exercises are used in a wide range of training plans, you can make your workout routine more specific to boxing by including drop sets - where you perform a set of an exercise normally, then reduce the weight by 20 percent and perform another set without taking a break. This demanding setup will prepare you to give your all for the entire duration of a round when boxing.

Back

Your back muscles assist your core in coordinating power across your entire body. Your back muscles are important for punch recovery, as they draw your arm back after you extend it to deliver a blow to your opponent. Stronger back muscles will allow you to pull your arms back more quickly to deliver more punches in less time. You can perform exercises such as dumbbell rows, deadlifts and cable rows to assist your boxing performance. The rowing motion directly translates to the motion you perform during punch recovery.

Repetition Ranges

For boxing, you'll want to not only increase your strength but also your endurance. You can focus on those traits by choosing particular repetition ranges for your exercises. Performing sets of 12 to 16 repetitions will help promote muscular endurance, while sets of four to eight repetitions will help you build strength.

AUTHOR: BRIAN @ WOMAN.THENEST.COM

Warm-Up Exercises for Boxing

Boxing is an intense sport that requires maximum effort from its participants. To get your body ready for boxing, you should always warm up before training or a fight. A boxer's warm-up should be general so that it prepares the muscles and organs for the bout, but also specific for practicing the skills needed in the ring.

Jump Rope

Jumping rope is a familiar exercise to most boxers. Jumping rope will raise your core temperature, elevate your heart and breathing rate and get you ready for more strenuous warm-up exercises to follow. Start jumping rope with your feet together before progressing on to an alternating heel to toe action and running on the spot with high knees. Finish off by two rope turns per jump - an exercise called, "double unders". Continue jumping rope for 5 to 10 minutes before moving on to the next part of your warm-up.

Boxers will typically jump rope for about 10-15 minutes (3 rounds continuous without rest) as warm-up before their boxing workouts. If you can’t do 3 rounds, start with 3 minutes as your goal, then work your way up.
— ExpertBoxing

Duck Under/Step Over

Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Imagine there is a hip-high barrier immediately to your left. Raise your left leg and step over the imaginary barrier and immediately follow with your right leg. Next, move to your right and duck under the barrier. Try to get as low to the ground as you can and duck your head. Repeat this over/under maneuver for 5 to 10 reps before reversing direction.

Shadow Boxing

Shadow boxing provides you with the opportunity to practice your boxing skills before throwing any punches against an opponent. Start off by throwing single jabs and crosses before adding hooks and uppercuts, building up to throwing multiple punch combinations. Practice your footwork while throwing combinations as though you were attacking, evading and counterpunching a real opponent. Try to increase the speed of your punches.

Pad Work

Finish your boxing warm-up by throwing combinations of punches into hook and jab pads held by your trainer or sparring partner. Start by making light contact with the pads and increase the speed and power of your punches over a few minutes. To sharpen your reactions, have your partner throw light noncontact punches toward you to evade. Only perform enough pad work to finish your warm-up and avoid doing so much that you begin to fatigue before the bout begins.

AUTHOR: PATRICK @ LIVESTRONG