Step aerobics is a simple and fun way of staying fit and getting the heart pumping. In this post, we look at some of the incredible benefits of doing step aerobics on a regular basis.
Even if you have no experience, you can easily pick up step aerobics and start an effective exercise plan in no time. You don’t need to spend much money on equipment, and one of the biggest benefits of step aerobics is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home, so it doesn’t require a gym membership.
Apart from some decent workout gear, all you need to get your hands on is an aerobic stepper. If you want to increase the intensity of your workout, you can also invest in risers, although you will find that the best exercise step usually comes with two or four for this very purpose.
Here are some of the amazing benefits of doing step aerobics at home:
1 – Cardiovascular Health
Studies have shown that one hour of step aerobics offers the same cardiovascular benefits to the body as running flat out for 7 miles.
Step aerobics is a great way to exercise the heart, the lungs, and the rest of the cardiovascular system. The heart is a muscle like any other, and through increased exercise, you can increase its strength and endurance. This, in turn, means the heart is better equipped to pump blood around the body.
A stronger heart means that you are less likely to suffer heart and artery diseases. It also means that you can improve your workout results because more blood will be pumped to the muscles so they will be getting more oxygen.
2 – Musculoskeletal Health
Musculoskeletal health is concerned with the strength and density of the bones.
Although step aerobics is considered to be a low impact form of exercise, it is still weight bearing. You carry the weight of your body while performing the exercises.
Weight bearing exercises force bones to increase their mass and produce more bone cells. Healthier bones are stronger. They enable you to balance better, and they enable you to avoid degenerative diseases like osteoporosis.
3 – Lose Weight
The benefits of step aerobics for weight loss are huge.
Because of it’s combination of cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercise, step aerobics is a super effective way of burning off excess fat. It also enables you to start off slowly and build intensity as you reach your weight loss goals.
How Many Calories Does Step Aerobics Burn?
Studies have shown that step aerobics can burn 600 calories in one hour.
The exact number of calories you burn will depend on the intensity of the steps you perform and the amount of time you dedicate to a workout. However, even a relatively simple routine can burn 300 or 400 calories.
Increase the intensity of the workout to burn more calories. You can do this by stepping faster and by increasing the height of the steps using aerobics step risers.
4 – Improve Mental Health
Good exercise releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that transmit electrical signals to the brain.
Endorphins can help to fight pain in the body, and they also help fight stress and relieve anxiety. By losing weight and toning the body, you will also feel better about the way you look, which increases self-confidence.
5 – Enhance Leg Strength
During a step aerobics routine, you work the lower muscles of your body.
The legs, ankles, and muscles in the feet will take most of the strain of the exercise and carry your body weight. Furthermore, the unilateral movement of the step up means that you exercise each leg individually.
Not only does this work the legs, generally, but it improves stability on each leg. As you gain stability on a leg, you put the muscles through greater exercise and build the muscles quicker.
You work every muscle in the legs using step aerobics, so it is a beneficial workout for the lower body. It is a popular workout routine for athletes that rely on having strong leg muscles, such as cyclists and runners.
What Muscles Does Step Aerobics Work?
Step aerobics primarily works the muscles in the legs, including those in the ankles and lower leg.
However, it also works your core muscles. If you want to intensify the upper body workout, add arm movements to your step routine.
Good step aerobics routines do incorporate arm movements because this not only helps increase the number of calories you burn but strengthens more muscles.
If you want to increase the intensity of your upper body workout, you can use resistance bands to do upper body exercises during your step aerobic routine.
6 – Improve Metabolic Rate
Your metabolic rate is the rate at which proteins in your body break down fat molecules. One of the biggest benefits of doing step aerobics regularly is that your metabolic rate will increase.
Your metabolism breaks down the calories in food that you eat, but it also breaks down fat already stored in the body. The more you exercise, the more fat-busting proteins your body generates, and the better your fat loss efforts are.
As you increase the amount of exercise you do, you also increase the amount of Human Growth Hormones (HGH) that your body creates. This is especially important later in life, when you naturally produce less HGH.
Doing more exercise will improve your metabolic rate, helping you limit your calorific intake and burn excess fat from your body.
7 – Low Impact Exercise
A low impact exercise is one that requires you to keep one foot on the ground at all times. This lowers the stress placed on the body when compared to performing high impact exercise.
High impact exercise is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you have healthy joints already. However, if you have weak joints or suffer from joint pain, you should stick to low impact exercise routines.
Despite being high intensity, step aerobics is still a low impact form of exercise, so is much kinder to your joints than, say, running.
Is Step Aerobics Bad For Knees?
Step aerobics, when done properly, is a low impact exercise. One foot remains on the floor or aerobics step at all times.
However, poor form, adding exercises like star jumps and hops, and carrying extra weights in the hand can alter the fundamentals of the program.
Basic step aerobics is not bad for the knees, but poor form can cause injury, so you need to ensure that your step aerobics movements are correct.
8 – Versatile Exercise
One of the benefits of step aerobics is that it is extremely versatile.
The step can be set as low as 4” off the ground, or you can even start off with no elevated step at all. This makes it suitable for people of any fitness level and almost any physical condition.
As you progress, and as you get fitter, you can increase the intensity of the exercise by increasing step elevation. Most steps are 4” in height but come with risers. These risers enable you to increase the height to 6” or 8”, and some advanced steps can be raised as high as 10” off the ground.
It is also possible to add extra movement to a step program. Add arm movements to exercise the upper body as well as the lower body extremities. Use resistance bands or hand weights to increase the burden placed on your muscles.
Of course, you can always increase the tempo of your steps to intensify the workout and get your heart pumping faster. You can even incorporate step into a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout.
9 – Very Little Equipment Needed
Some people love the community spirit and encouragement that comes from step classes, but going to the local gym or health centre isn’t always practical. Attending a step class every week can also get costly.
One of the great benefits of doing step aerobics at home is that you don’t need a multi gym or other expensive equipment. Even the most expensive aerobics stepper is available for $100 or less, including additional risers.
That’s all you really need. As mentioned, it’s always useful to have some resistance bands handy if you want to add intensity to certain exercises. They cost next to nothing and can be used to add resistance to any movement.
Where Can I Buy A Step For Step Aerobics?
Aerobics steps are inexpensive and portable. The best aerobics steps are slip-proof, durable, and come with risers so that you can increase the intensity of your cardio workout.
Staying fit at home doesn’t mean you have to splurge on tons of different workout equipment.
Doing Swiss ball exercises is incredible for improving your core strength and balance because it forces you to use your stabilising muscles during movements. This makes it an ideal training partner for all athletes who want to improve their game and stay injury-free.
It also a great way to cut through the boredom if you’re working at home – switch your seat to a Swiss ball for a few minutes a day and you’ll be working on your balance while you type!
Let’s have a look at some of the easiest and most effective Swiss ball exercises you can do at home:
Swiss ball sit-ups
Lots of the world’s top athletes swear by Swiss ball ab exercises and it’s true that they not only give results, they also protect your back while you’re working out.
For sit-ups with a Swiss ball, sit on the ball and lie back while rolling on the ball gently, so that the small of your back is on the ball itself. Make sure you’re staying balanced, with both feet on the floor.
Then, cross your arms on your chest or behind your head, and do three sets of 10 sit-ups. As you get stronger, you can hold a weight to increase the pressure on your abdominals.
If you’re already able to perform a press-up on the ground and want to make it more challenging, the Swiss ball is your friend.
Place yourself in a press-up position in front of your Swiss ball, then lift your feet onto it. Maintaining your toes on the ball, perform 10 press-ups. Do three sets and make sure you’re staying straight the whole time! Keeping the ball from moving is part of the challenge.
You can also do a modified press-up with your feet or shins on the ball, thereby modifying the angle at which you’re approaching the mat as you descend. This takes some of your body weight off, especially if you rest your shins on the ball.
Balancing exercises on the Swiss ball
There are lots of nice exercises you can try to improve your balance and core strength.
First, start off sitting on the Swiss ball with your feet shoulder width apart and firmly on the floor. Centre yourself as much as you can before lifting your feet off the floor and sitting back onto the ball, while being careful not to roll to either side. Set a timer and go for at least 30 seconds before your feet touch the ground again. Use your arms to balance yourself.
As you get stronger, you can pass a weight from one arm to the other to make it more challenging. And finally, when you’re strong enough, you can try balancing on the ball on your knees.
Strengthen your lower back
One great advantage of doing exercises with a Swiss ball is how gentle it is on you lower back. In fact, you can also use it during rehab activities for your lower back if you’re recovering from injury.
Here’s a Swiss ball lower back exercise you can do progressively. Lie face down on the ball, keeping the middle part of your body over the centre and almost “hugging” the ball. Then, slowly lift your upper body, while maintaining your balance with your toes on the ground, and pushing your hips into the ball. Engage your glutes at the same time. Check out the video:
You can keep your arms crossed by your head for a maximum extension which activates your upper back as well. As you’re using your glutes to stabilize, this exercise actually targets two muscle groups directly. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions.
You can make this exercise more challenging by holding a weight as you lift up once you get stronger.
To help your balance even further and just isolate your lower back, rest your heels against a wall so you’re not rolling backwards.
Do the Cobra
Another great Swiss ball stability exercise is the “Cobra.” This is also performed facing down on the ball, with your feet hip width apart, and is a slow movement designed to really elongate your back muscles while improving your balance and stability. Here’s a quick demo:
Start off with your arms straight down in front of you and move them backwards, keeping the tension in your whole body as you face down and maintain a straight line throughout your neck and spine.
You can do these as a set of 10, repeating three times, or just include them in your stretching regime.
Swiss ball knee tuck
To work your abs and balance at the same time in a more dynamic way, try the knee tuck. Start off with your feet on the ball and in a plank position, focusing on keeping a straight line between your shoulders, lower back, and feet.
While balancing yourself straight, roll the ball towards you in a knee tuck (think about doing the knee tuck jumps when you’re standing up).
Watch this video for a detailed step by step guide from getting on the ball to performing the whole movement:
Another move that’s harder than it looks is a Swiss ball hamstring curl exercise.
On your back with shoulders on the floor and heels on the ball, engage your glutes as you draw the ball towards you. Feel the burn in your hamstrings!
Watch this video to get the technique just right:
Kettlebells can seem intimidating.
Cast iron models look like cannon balls with handles.
At first glance, exercises like kettlebell swings can look scary and even a little dangerous. But the best kettlebells have a wide handle that makes them ideal for dynamic exercises like swings.
You can use kettlebells for ballistic strength training, as well as for stamina and cardio training. They can also enhance your home workout routine so that you continue to challenge your muscles and experience continued growth.
There are a lot of different styles of kettlebell on the market, including competition and standard bells. You will find cast iron, powder coated, and even vinyl coated models. And the weight of the bell, which is obviously very important, can range from a few pounds to 100lbs or more.
So, how do you know which is the best kettlebell for your home workout? We’ve found 10 of the best bells, including a variety of cast iron and vinyl, as well as some adjustable kettlebell sets, so that you can find the one best suited to your needs.
Kettlebell Buying Guide
When compiling the list we considered the following factors:
There’s a reason that most kettlebell sets are cast iron. Not only is it heavy, facilitating small but heavy weights, it is durable and hard-wearing. You will be heaving your kettlebells all over the place and, no matter how good your form, there is likely to be occasion when you drop one on the floor or bang two bells together.
Flimsy bells will become damaged and you will have to replace them more often, because even a small chip makes them uncomfortable to hold.
• Cast Iron – Cast iron is the most popular kettlebell material. As mentioned, it has a high mass which means that manufacturers can create reasonably small bells that have a good weight to them. It is also hard-wearing and durable. Because cast iron bells are made from a single piece of metal, there are no seams on the handles. Seams can cause discomfort and even injury to the hands.
• Vinyl – Vinyl kettlebells have become increasingly popular. The reason for this popularity is that cast iron is heavy and can damage floors when dropped. Commercial gyms and health centers buy vinyl coated bells in order to protect the floor. However, the vinyl sleeve tends to have a seam on the handle, which can cause discomfort. What’s more, it affects the grip. Some vinyl bells make it difficult to perform the full range of movements required from kettlebell exercises. Some can be dangerously slippery when you are sweating, too. If you do buy vinyl kettlebells, check reviews to ensure that they still offer a reasonable grip.
Different kettlebell exercises require different weights. Some exercises require the use of both hands and some use one hand. What’s more, bells can be used for strength and cardio training. This means that you will need different weights at different times, so it is likely that you will end up with a set of kettlebells in different weights.
What Size Kettlebell Should I Get?
There is some debate over the weight of kettlebell a person should use. However, it is widely accepted that an average man should start with a weight of 25lbs while an athletic man should adopt a 35lb kettlebell weight regiment.
The average woman should start on 15lbs and move up to 25lbs with experience. Competitive lifters might use considerably heavier bells, but this isn’t necessary for the average home user.
You should experience some discomfort following a kettlebell workout, but this should be muscle discomfort from the workout itself. You shouldn’t experience pain or discomfort in the hands. Gloves can help, and you can even buy wrist guards that are designed for the very purpose of protecting against the rub of the bell.
However, the handle should be comfortable. This means choosing a kettlebell with a decent handle that fits your workout and your hand size. The design should also prevent any sharp edges from rubbing against your body.
There are various types of kettlebell on the market. The three most common are:
• Standard – The standard kettlebell, typically made from cast iron, can be held with one or two hands. It offers versatility and comfort and even the lighter bells should have a handle wide enough for two hands.
• Competition – In contrast, competition bells are designed for lifting with one hand. Their handle is narrower, which prevents them from being used for standard exercise like swings. You may want to progress to this type when you are more experienced, but a standard or cast-iron kettlebell is your best bet when starting out.
• Adjustable Kettlebells – Adjustable kettlebells tend to be overlooked by serious users. They offer the convenience of adjustable weight and space saving, but experts shy away from them because the dynamic movement of kettlebell exercises means that adjustable and locking parts are not a good idea. We have included some adjustable models in our list, but you should consider alternatives for anything other than swings.
Best Kettlebell Reviews
Available in 5lb increments between 5lb and 50lb, as well as 60lb, 70lb, and 80lb options, Cap Barbell kettlebells are made from powder-coated cast iron.
The powder coating makes the bells more sympathetic to the skin and ensures their longevity. Importantly, though, the bells retain their seam-free surface. Coupled with the wide handle, this means that Cap kettlebells are suitable for one-handed and two-handed exercises. These are cheaper than a lot of the premium options on the market, making them a great combination of quality and affordability.
• Affordable compared to a lot of high-end bells
• Available in a wide range of weights
• Powder coated finish is comfortable and seamless
• Some reviewers have said the handle size could be bigger
Yes4All solid cast iron kettlebells range from 5lb to 80lbs in weight and they boast an extra wide handle for two-handed swings. They also have a flat bottom to prevent them rolling away on a flat surface, and some of the heavier weights include neoprene pads to cushion the hands and wrists.
There have been some reports of damaged bells and chipped handles but only from a limited number of buyers.
• Cast iron construction
• Flat bottom to prevent rolling
• Neoprene cushions with some models
• Great range of weight options
• Some reports of damaged weights and handles
3 – Onnit Primal Kettlebells
The most striking feature of the Onnit range of Elite kettlebells is their unique design. The range includes monkey, zombie, and even Darth Vader heads and they look incredible.
The design doesn’t interfere with the bell construction either. The edges don’t scrape against the body and the weights are accurate. The Primate bells have wide, textured handles, so they’re great for two-handed swings and you can retain grip even when you’re sweating heavily. There is a reasonable range of weights, each with a different monkey head, from howler to big foot.
• Great looking design
• Wide handles that have good grip
• Different weights to choose from
• Weight range could be broader
• Among the more expensive kettlebell design
4 – Kettle Gryp
The Kettle Gryp isn’t a standard kettlebell. In fact, it isn’t a kettlebell at all. What it is, is a handle that fixes around your existing dumbbells to convert them into kettlebells.
If you travel to a lot of hotels you will know that most places have dumbbells but far fewer have kettlebells. The Kettle Gryp isn’t without its faults but it is very useful for the regular traveler or for those with a home gym filled with dumbbells but no room or budget for a new kettlebell.
• Convert dumbbells into kettlebells
• Handle is easy to fix to most dumbbells
• Lightweight and highly portable
• Maximum weight (55lbs) might not be enough for some
• Not suitable for all kettlebell exercises
The AmazonBasics vinyl coated cast iron kettlebells are available in weights ranging from 10lb to 60lbs.
They are made from solid cast iron, which means that there’s no seams, but the bottom half of the bell is coated in vinyl. The vinyl is meant to protect the floor as well as your legs and body. As you would expect from Amazon, the price is low, and the quality is reasonable.
• Cheap but good quality
• OK range of weights
• Vinyl coating to protect floors and legs
• Not everybody will want the AmazonBasics logo on show
Adjustable kettlebells get a bad rep. They have to allow for the full weight, which means that they can be bulky and cumbersome when only using lower weights, and the dynamic and often vigorous swinging motion used with kettlebells can be off-putting when you have to lock weights in place. But, they are space saving and can save you money compared to a full set. They’re not for everybody, but if you are interested, you can read our guide to the best adjustable kettlebells.
The BowFlex adjustable kettlebell is one of the best adjustable models on the market, has a barrel type design that doesn’t get in the way too much, and is priced reasonably. If you want an adjustable model, this is a good choice.
• Weight can be adjusted from 8lbs up to 40lbs
• Saves space and money
• Weights have to be locked into place
• The design is more cumbersome than standard kettlebells
Available in 5lb increments from 10lb to 30lb, the Bionic Body soft kettlebell is designed to prevent injury to yourself and damage to your floors.
Despite the unique leather design, it gets plenty of positive reviews from buyers, although there are many that would prefer heavier weights than Bionic offers.
• Leather design to protect floors and bodies
• Really good quality materials
• Limited weight range
• Not everybody will appreciate the leather
The Best Choice Products HDPE kettlebell set contains 5lb, 10lb, and 15lb kettlebells. They are made from a hard HDPE plastic and filled with cement and while this isn’t as high a quality or as durable as cast iron, it does mean that the cost is lower than a lot of the standard bells.
With that said, buyers have complained that the textured grips can cause callouses and the bells themselves are considerably larger than cast iron models. If you want a budget set of relatively light kettlebells, though, these are a strong choice.
• Come with their own rack for storage
• Textured handle offers decent grip
• Textured handle has proven uncomfortable
• Low weights
• Very large for their weight
Gymenist kettlebells come in weights from 5lbs to 50lbs. They are made from cast iron and have a neoprene covering on the bottom half to prevent damage to floors and injuries to legs.
The handle is left bare providing the strength and the grip that cast iron has to offer. They are cheaper than a lot of the premium models but some buyers have complained that the handles are too thick, too small, and some have a sharp edge that makes them uncomfortable.
• Neoprene coating to protect floors
• The handle is too thich
• The handle is too small
• Some users have complained of a sharp edge on the handle
BalanceFrom GoFit all-purpose weights are cast iron kettlebells that have a vinyl coating on the bottom half.
Weights go up to 100lbs and these products are priced well, with the bigger 100lb weights costing more than the smaller weights. A wide handle makes them suitable for a whole range of exercises. They have a flat bottom to make storage easier, and they receive generally good reviews.
However, some buyers have complained that there is a sharp edge on the handle that can be uncomfortable, and there has been the occasional complaint of a powerfully toxic smell when the items are new.
• Textured handles for better grip
• Wide range of colour coded weights
• Apparently, the vinyl has a somewhat toxic smell initially
• There are sharp edges on the handle so gloves are advised
There are lots of benefits to using kettlebells.
From a practical standpoint, they offer a total body workout from a single, small piece of gym equipment. They are inexpensive compared to dumbbell sets and machines, even if you buy a set of three good quality bells.
You can exercise anywhere that you have a few square meters of space and you don’t require any specialist clothing or other equipment. It’s no surprise they’re found in most gyms and also many home gyms.
Here are 14 amazing health benefits of doing kettlebell exercises:
#1 – Burn 20 Calories per Minute
Kettlebells aren’t just good for explosive strength training. In fact, research shows that kettlebell swings are a highly effective means of burning calories.
You can burn up to 20 calories per minute with a kettlebell workout, which equates to 1,200 calories per hour and is the same amount of calories burned from running 6-minute miles over the same period – even if you can’t run at that pace.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight or increase your cardio workout efforts, kettlebell swings are an invaluable form of exercise.
#2 – Improve your Range of Motion
Kettlebell movements exercise groups of muscles and joints, rather than exercising muscles in isolation.
As well as moving areas up and down or side to side, you will be exercising across multiple planes of motion. You also have to control the force, speed, and motion, as you perform the exercises.
As you exercise and especially as you increase reps or the weight lifted, you will also be improving your range of motion. You will increase your flexibility and minimize the risk of injury to joints and muscles.
#3 – Total Body Workout
With a single piece of equipment, you can give your entire body a workout.
The kettlebell swing alone works the glutes, quads, hips, core, back, trapezius, shoulders, forearms, and hamstrings. To mimic this without kettlebells would usually take multiple pieces of home gym equipment.
#4 – Strength, Cardio, and Flexibility Training
Kettlebell exercises can do pretty much everything.
They offer the strength training of weightlifting, the cardio equivalent to running 6-minute miles for the period of your workout, and they offer the flexibility training of yoga. They even improve your balance.
#5 – Reduce Pain in the Neck, Shoulders and Lower Back
Another study, albeit with relatively small numbers, showed that kettlebell exercises can reduce pain in the shoulders, neck, and lower back. 46% and 57% of respondents in that study reported a reduction in musculoskeletal pain intensity in the lower back and neck/shoulders respectively.
What’s more, because the exercises strengthen the muscles, including the muscles around these joints, this type of exercise can prevent future and further injuries from occurring, too.
#6 – Can Improve Posture
The posterior chain is made up of a series of muscles including hamstrings, glutes, trapezius, and deltoids.
Having a strong posterior chain encourages better posture which, in turn, enables you to run faster, jump higher, and move smoothly. These actions are used throughout athletics and sports, so no matter your discipline, you can improve by strengthening the posterior chain.
Kettlebell swings exercise all these muscles, and you can add extra bell exercises to change up your routine and further intensify work on the posterior chain.
#7 – Increase Grip Strength
Grip strength is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. Your grip determines how much weight you can lift, how long you can hold it, and you use it in everyday life.
Whereas barbells place the center of the weight in the palm of your hand, a kettlebell’s center of gravity is offset. The weight is no longer balanced in your hand, so you will have to use your finger and other hand muscles, forearms, and wrists work harder to effectively keep hold of and control the weight of the bell.
#8 – Improve Coordination
All exercise involves some repetition, including kettlebell exercises.
However, multiplanar movements combined with the control required to balance the offset center of gravity of a kettlebell, means that you have to concentrate during every second of a kettlebell workout. This link between mind and muscles will improve coordination and increase body awareness over time.
#9 – Low Impact Exercise
Low impact exercise is any form of exercise which isgentle on your joints and does not involve heavy contacts.
Low impact exercises include swimming, cycling, and walking. Kettlebell exercises are also low impact, in most cases, and they offer much better strength, cardio, and flexibility training.
You will struggle to find any other low-impact exercise that offers the same of kind calorie burning and muscle building benefits wrapped up in one.
#10 – Functional Movements
Functional exercise is exercise that mimics real world movement. It is considered important for general health and is vital for athletes because functional exercises can mirror the movements involved in sport without having to take part in a game.
Kettlebell exercises are performed through all three planes of movement, and your body will have to perform the transitions between these movements. Whether you’re looking to strengthen for running, gymnastics, or rugby, kettlebells can help improve your performance as well as your strength.
#11 – Activate The Core
Activating the core really only means using the core, but it is considered an important part of any exercise regimen.
Because kettlebell exercises are considered a form of ballistic training, this means that they use the core muscles to maximize acceleration and minimize deceleration.
What’s more, they exercise the core from different directions, which improves all-round core strength. Improving core power is great for explosive strength, another reason why athletes rely on this form of exercise.
#12 – Build Lean Muscle
Weight training with heavy weights offers a method of bulking up muscle as well as increasing strength. This means hitting the weights will increase your strength and also your size.
It’s possible though that too much size will restrict some of your movements. Lean muscle is muscle without much additional mass. If you’re looking to condition your muscles and build lean muscle, kettlebells and their ballistic strength training capabilities are the way to go.
#13 – Improves Muscle Imbalance
Muscle imbalance is a common problem. Most of us have a dominant side, and we naturally tend to favor that side when we perform almost any action.
This is just as true of lifting heavy weights as it is of writing or pretty much any other daily task. When you use both hands to lift a weight, it’s common, but bad form, to favor your dominant side.
Kettlebells can be used to identify imbalances through a combination of unilateral and multiplanar movements. You can then work the imbalanced area to improve its strength and redress the imbalance.
#14 – Keep The Body Guessing
Kettlebell exercises are very popular and while some users concentrate solely on swings, kettlebells can be used to perform a host of different exercises.
Include kettlebell lunges, kettlebell squats, and kettlebell deadlifts to increase strength in the legs and overhead presses, halos, and push presses for an upper body workout.
Mixing up exercises also ensures that your muscles don’t become accustomed to performing the same motion time and time again. When this happens, the gains you make will slow.
If you don’t already do kettlebell exercises, it is this variety of workout that makes them a great addition to your plan.
Kettlebells are reasonably inexpensive, conveniently sized, and portable. They don’t take up much space but they can be used for cardio, strength, and balance training.
Combine a variety of exercises including kettlebell lunges, squats, halos, and presses, as well as kettlebell swings to create an intense, full body workout.
If you’re ready to incorporate kettlebell exercises into your workout, check out our guides to the best kettlebells and the best adjustable kettlebells.
Athletes have used foam rollers for years, as a means of relaxing aching muscles and reducing stress and tension in the body. You can use them before or after exercise, or as a means to relieve back pain and other aches. The vibrating foam roller takes this a step further by replicating some of the actions of a sports massage.
Professional athletes use them, and so too do regular gym-goers, experienced runners, and novice athletes. As well as offering a great warm-up routine, you can use vibrating foam roller techniques as part of a post-workout routine. Below, we have a roundup of the best vibrating foam roller reviews to help you alleviate muscle pain and minimize post-workout aches.
Vibrating Foam Roller Vs Regular Foam Roller
A basic foam roller is a basic foam cylinder. Users roll their calves or back over the foam, giving some of the basic elements of a sports massage. Studies have proven that they aid in muscle recovery and reduce muscle fatigue. You use a vibrating roller in the same way, but they use a small motor inside the cylinder that causes vibrations. This gives a deeper massage and enables you to get deep into tight muscles to relax them.
Vibrating Foam Roller Benefits
- Once you have finished exercising, your muscles need air in order to help them recover. By increasing blood flow and oxygen, you can improve your post-workout recovery time.
- High-frequency vibration improves myofascial release, sending blood and nutrients to the muscles and enabling them to relax and minimizing the chance of injury.
- Lower back pain is common after a workout and vibrating rollers offer a more convenient and less expensive alternative to a professional masseuse.
- Tight muscles cause the stiffness you have probably felt after prolonged exercise. Not only do rollers help you relax the muscles but they can also improve your range of motion, further reducing stiffness levels.
- Virtually anybody can use these simple and portable devices. They are safe for pregnant women as well as for users of any age. You can simply put one in your gym bag or even take it to work and use it to relieve the back pain felt from sitting in the same position at your desk.
Vibrating Roller Features
When compiling the best vibrating foam roller reviews, we looked at the following features:
Cheap vibrating rollers have a single speed or limited speed options. More expensive models offer incremental, variable speed settings. Variable settings enable you to ease yourself into a massage and allow you to turn the settings down for more sensitive areas. Some variable rollers have a dial setting, which allows for precise setting, while others offer a more convenient selection of four or five different levels of vibration.
Roller size matters. They can vary from 12 to 36 inches long. Longer rollers are better for muscles like legs and glutes. You will find that most rollers come in a similar diameter, around 6 inches. Some smaller models are available.
Most vibrating foam rollers have a rechargeable battery. When not in use, you can plug the roller in to recharge the unit. A typical roller session will last for around 10 minutes and most of the rollers in this review provide between two and three hours of use before they need recharging. Charge times are short, which means that you won’t have to wait long before packing yours back to your sports bag.
You should expect some discomfort when using this type of device. However, this discomfort shouldn’t come from the material used in its construction. Firm foam is strong enough to offer a deep massage and should be durable enough to last for years. The most commonly used material is high-density polyethylene because it is environmentally friendly, tough, and its density offers a firm and rewarding vibration. Other materials include EVA, which is not as common but can be considered as good if not better than polyethylene. Basic and inexpensive models might use molded plastic, but these can cause discomfort and may rub against the skin during use.
Vibrating Foam Roller Reviews
With all these factors in mind, below are 7 of the best vibrating foam rollers currently on the market.
The Vulken provides users with a 4-speed variable setting. It measures 17 inches so it is suitable for working the back or legs but still portable enough for you to carry around. In fact, it comes with its own bag so is easily transportable.
The variable speeds include a pulse setting. This allows you to warm the muscles up and is ideal for use before exercising or for working on sensitive muscles. The rechargeable battery doesn’t have the longest battery life, lasting only 2 hours, but that should be more than enough for a couple of weeks’ use.
- Free carry bag offer
- Durable materials
- 4 speed settings, including a pulse mode
- Only has a 2-hour battery life
- The foam may be too hard for some
2 – LifePro 4 Speed
The LifePro 4 speed roller has four speed settings. Designed for use by professional athletes, the LifePro can perform deep compression massage therapy. This is ideal for warm-ups and for recovery but some reviews complain about the raised edges causing discomfort during use.
Like the Vulken above, the LifePro only offers two hours of use from a single charge. It also measures just 11.5 inches in length. This is suitable for working individual muscles, one at a time, but you will find it a struggle when working the back of leg muscles and it doesn’t allow you to work multiple muscle groups at once. Its compact nature does make it convenient for transporting to the gym or the track, though.
- Offers deep compression massage therapy
- Four separate speed settings
- Quite short at 11.5″ long
- The ridges can be painful for some users
- Only a two hour charge from the batteries
3 – FitIndex Roller
The FitIndex vibrating roller is one of the cheapest options on the market. Don’t let the low price tag fool you, though, because for half the price of some of the options on this list, you still receive four speed settings and a full charge will last for four hours, which is more than most other models.
Unfortunately, you do have to make some sacrifices with a product that is this much cheaper. In the FitIndex roller, the sacrifice primarily comes as a result of the choice of high-density foam as the finishing material. High density foam simply doesn’t offer as deep or as powerful a massage, and this means that you might not notice the subtle differences between some of the speed settings.
If you’re on a shoestring budget, this is a solid choice. Otherwise, we suggest you look elsewhere.
- Less than half the price of most other models
- Four hour charge from the batteries
- The foam is poor quality
- Reviewers have complained that there’s no instruction manual
4 – NextRoller
Despite a price tag that matches premium models, the NextRoller is quite basic in its functions. It has three vibration settings and measures 13 inches long, but like the product itself these are average features. There are plenty of models with four settings as well as shorter models that are more portable and longer models that can work a greater number of muscles in one go.
The NextRoller has received a few negative reviews, too, with some complaints of faulty motors and plenty of complaints about the notched exterior being uncomfortable rather than beneficial. The battery will last three hours from a single charge – again, this is about average. For the price tag, we would expect more.
- Three vibration settings
- Small enough to fit in your gym bag
- Very average for a high price tag
- Some complaints over performance and discomfort
5 – HyperIce Vyper 2
The HyperIce vibrating foam roller is the most expensive option on the list. With a 40 watt motor and TSA approval for easy traveling, it is powerful. It is also functional, with three vibration settings, while its smooth, grooved exterior receives mostly positive reviews from buyers.
Honestly, at twice the price of some of the best models, we would expect more from this product. Its battery will only last two hours from a single charge and it doesn’t offer as many speed and vibration settings as a lot of its competitors.
- Dual-zone exterior finish
- TSA approval, if you need it
- Poor battery life
- High price tag for modest features
The Phenom is not as expensive as the HyperIce but is still quite pricey, especially because it only has three vibration settings. It does have molded foam knobs that give a deeper massage, although some novice users will find this uncomfortable at first.
One feature of the Phenom that is sadly missing in a lot of others, and that it does deserve praise for, is the spine ridge. This ridge provides support for the spine and is especially suitable for users that suffer from back pain after exercise. Another negative feature of the Phenom is that it is tricky to get to the charging port because you have to remove the carry handle. It’s only really a minor inconvenience but at this price level, the design should be better.
- Ridge support for the spine
- Foam knobs enable deeper massage
- High price tag
- Limited access to the charging port
7 – Emerge Vibr
The modestly priced Emerge Vibr is a good option for those that want quality without paying over the odds. It has three speed settings, a dual zone surface that combines different groove patterns, and its 13 inch length means that it is easy to transport so can be taken away with you on holiday or for competitions. A single charge will also deliver up to three hours of use, which is reasonable for this type of device and especially decent considering its price tag.
- Decent price tag
- Three variable vibration settings
- Dual zone finish
- Awkward charging port position
- 13 inches long isn’t ideal for all users
The Bottom Line
Vibrating foam rollers are a relatively new introduction to the health and fitness product market but they are already proving popular with novice and experienced athletes. You can use one to aid warm-up and recovery sessions, and if you suffer from back pain or aching muscles, they can help relieve these complaints.
Using resistance bands is another great way to stretch and gently build up strength in your muscles and joints, without the high risk of injury of traditional free weights. Try doing a session of resistance band exercises followed by a vibrating foam roller massage for maximum benefit.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been running for years, knowing how to prevent injuries is a must for all runners.
The repetitive strain caused by running can easily lead to injury, and the pounding taken by your whole body presents a problem for runners of all ages. Increasing the volume as you get better at running – regardless of your level – really turns up the strain on your body.
Here are some easy ways to prevent injuries and stay healthy and fit while running.
1. Increase volume gradually
There’s a reason there are so many training plans out there, all advising a gradual increase in volume. Don’t listen to those who say they run 6 miles every day, without any rest days. That’s just a recipe for disaster, especially if you don’t bear in mind that personal circumstances vary for all of us.
Being consistent with your training is a great idea. Make sure you follow a plan – even if it’s one you drew up yourself. Ensure you include one or two rest days a week, and train consistently.
Finally, think of the big picture: what’s your goal? Are you training for a specific distance or just to improve your speed? Depending on your goals, work backwards to where you are today and allow yourself to progress gradually.
As a general rule of thumb, increasing your running each week by no more than 10% is a good way to prevent injuries.
2. Strengthen your core
One of your body’s key supportive mechanisms to your running is your core. A strong core will help you prevent running injuries by eliminating poor postural habits which over time can put strain on your joints.
Make sure you include one or two sessions per week dedicated to strengthening your core. They don’t need to be any longer than 20-30 minutes, and again, start slowly and gradually increase the number of repetitions and difficulty.
Stability ball sit-ups
These help stretch out your abs as you lie back and are also gentle on your lower back. They’re great for improving balance as well. Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions, and increase to 12-16 reps as you get stronger.
Balancing on stability ball
Once you’ve done your sit-ups, sit on the ball and try and balance yourself without letting your feet touch the ground. Take it easy at the start and aim for 30 seconds, then increase time on the ball as you get more comfortable.
Alternate leg extensions
This is a great exercise for your lower abs. Keep your lower back flat on the mat and your legs bent in the air at a 90-degree angle, then lower one at a time, being careful not to touch the floor, while keeping the other leg in place. To make it slightly harder, lift your neck and head in a “traditional” sit-up position while you do this. Do 3 sets of 10 reps and increase as you get stronger.
Nothing beats a classic plank for strengthening your core overall, and this will go a long way towards helping you prevent running injuries.
Try to keep the plank position for 30 seconds to begin with, then progress 10 seconds at a time. Add side planks to improve your balance and strengthen your obliques – 30 seconds on each side and progress from there.
Lower back extensions
Your core also includes your back so don’t neglect it! You can either do 3 sets of 10-12 reps or hold the extension for 30 seconds and then increase that duration as you get stronger.
3. Don’t neglect these key strength exercises
Beyond core strength, which will help with your balance and posture, ensuring you are running injury-free, these key exercises you can do at home will help strengthen your lower body. Having a strong lower body will make you a stronger and faster runner, as well as help you to avoid injury.
Do these exercises once or twice a week, either at the same time as your core exercises, or a separate session. Start with 2 sets of 10 reps, then progress to 12 and 16 reps. Afterwards, you can try 3×10 and so on.
The glutes are the strongest and largest muscles in your body and are absolutely essential for effective running. Having strong glutes can prevent many of the common injuries sustained through running.
Strengthen them by doing glute raises. Later you can progress to holding the bridge position for 10-12 seconds and gradually longer.
Finally, while holding the bridge position, lift one foot off the ground keeping your legs in the same position, and straighten that top leg. Keep this for 3 seconds then return to the bridge. Alternate for 10 reps, and increase gradually.
You can also loop a mini resistance band around your legs while doing glute bridges to get a more intense glute and hip workout.
Do body weight squats, concentrating on your form. Squats are a great workout for the whole leg, increasing your quad strength which will take pressure off your knees and ensure you’re running healthy.
Do these without weight as well, one set forward and one set stepping backward.
4. Get the right kit
It goes without saying that, if you’re new to running, you’ll need to make sure you wear the right shoes. But more seasoned runners also forget this important piece of advice. One easy way to ensure you have the right shoes for you is to get fitted by a specialist in a running shop. Most shops now offer a free gait analysis which is very useful.
Once you find the right shoes for you, ensure you’re not overusing them. Rather than look for a specific number of miles run, our advice is to check the wear and tear on them to see when they need replacing. The lugs on the soles are a good indication. Also, check the cushioning especially at your heels – it’s a good indication of how worn the shoes are.
5. Listen to your body
The final piece of advice is simple: listen to the signals your body is sending you. Rest when you need to, and adjust your training accordingly. If you need to skip a session, you may find that does wonders for your motivation and strength the following day.
Don’t train when you’re feeling a little under the weather. Be patient and consistent with your training, and you’ll be running longer, stronger and injury-free.
Be sure to check out our workouts page for ideas on how to use resistance band for strength training.
In this post, which is all about exercise equipment for the elderly, I’m going to countdown five of the best exercise bands for seniors.
These bands are all great for:
- Low impact, gentle exercise
- Strengthening your joints safely
- Increasing range of motion
- Recovery from existing injury
- Prevention of future injuries
On top of all this, they’re super economical and will never put a dent in your wallet. So, without further delay, let’s jump right into a countdown of the top five exercise bands for seniors:
#5 Pull Up Assist Bands
Pull up bands are the resistance band of choice for gym-goers who use them for all kinds of strength exercises* to build muscles in the entire body.
They’re a super versatile piece of exercise equipment, and are great for elderly users who wish to build strength.
As their name suggests, pull up assist bands can also be used to help you do pull ups. You just loop them onto the bar and put your feet into the other end of the loop while you perform the exercise. The heavier the band, the easier the exercise will be.
Since pull up bands tend to be used more for heavy muscle-building exercises and fitness training, they aren’t necessarily the very best exercise bands for seniors. But because of their versatility and ease of use, they definitely belong in the top 5 kinds of exercise equipment for the elderly.
*All our resistance bands include workout guides with up to 50 exercises, so you’ll never be confused about how to use them. And you can always check our blog for new exercises.
#4 Resistance Tubes with Handles
These resistance tubes come with a door anchor – you just wedge it into any door frame and this allows you to fix the band at any height and use it to perform upper and lower body exercises.
You can use these bands to do all the classic strength training exercises, like chest press, row, squat, shoulder press, etc. The number of exercise variations you can do is unlimited.
The effects of aging include loss of bone density, muscle mass and joint mobility. Research shows that doing regular resistance training increases not just muscle mass but also bone density. Moving your limbs under tension is one of the best ways to increase joint health.
Regular training with these resistance tubes will build up the strength in your muscles, and improve the range of motion of your joints. Using exercise bands is important for seniors who wish to improve their level of mobility and train for healthy bones and joints.
#3 Mini Resistance Loops
They may just be simple elastic bands, but mini resistance loops are one of the best kinds of exercise equipment for the lower body, and they’re particularly suitable for the elderly.
These exercise band are great for seniors who want to gently build up strength in the lower body without much risk of injury. They can be used to strengthen the muscles in and around the hips and core – areas which often cause problems later in life.
The key feature of these bands is the ability to loop them around your ankles, or just above the knees, so they can provide resistance while you perform exercises like hip abductions, hip flexions, lateral shuffle etc.
Doing these kind of mobility exercises with a resistance band strengthens the muscles in and around your joints and increases your range of motion. This is important for lifelong mobility and resistance to injury.
#2 Physiotherapy Shoulder Pulley
The shoulder pulley isn’t an exercise band like the others, as it’s not made of elastic
material. Instead, it’s a simple pulley with a door anchor at one end which you can attach to any door frame.
This is a simple but super effective piece of physiotherapy equipment which can by used by the elderly and by people recovering from a shoulder injury or surgery.
The pulley includes a cord with handles that are pulled to stretch the shoulders, alleviating the pain of conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, and frozen shoulder syndrome.
Regular use of the shoulder pulley, gently exercises the shoulder joint and will increase your range of motion. For seniors with stiff shoulders this is an excellent way to improve shoulder health and prepare for more challenging movements using exercise bands.
#1 Flat Resistance Bands
Number one on my list of exercise bands for seniors are these flat resistance bands, also known as physiotherapy bands.
Why do I think they’re the best piece of exercise equipment for the elderly?
Firstly, they can be used to add gentle resistance to literally any movement you can do. This makes them ideal for people with specific weakness in their joints or those suffering from muscular dystrophy.
Secondly, they can easily be attached to fixed objects, looped around your body, pinned to the floor with your hands or feet, and held in different ways. The possibilities are endless.
Thirdly, they’re extremely portable – when folded up, they fit right in your pocket and can be taken anywhere for exercise on the go.
Lastly, these bands cost next to nothing so you get the most benefit for the lowest cost.
Time to join the resistance!
Using exercise bands for physical therapy is much better than using weights. This is because of the unique effect that training with elastics has on your muscles and joints.
You can read about the full benefits of training with resistance bands in this article. But, briefly, the main benefits include:
- Variable linear resistance – the tension level increases as the band is stretched, meaning you get the most resistance exactly where your muscles need it.
- Weights rely on gravity, whereas bands can also work on a horizontal plane, allowing you to apply resistance to any movement, from any angle.
- You are far less likely to injure yourself using resistance bands than you are with weights, so they are one of the safest ways to increase muscle mass and bone density.
I hope you enjoyed my list of the best exercise equipment for the elderly. Check out our full range of resistance bands here and find the one which is best for you.
This article is all about how to use resistance bands in your training and get better at basketball.
You can use resistance bands to improve your explosiveness on the court and develop better agilty and a higher vertical jump. Bands are perfect for strengthening your legs for movement in basketball or for building your arm power for shooting and passing.
When you look at all the great basketball players you’ll see they all have certain things in common – fast footwork, high vertical jump, long forward leap and great explosiveness on the court. All of them spend a lot of time in supplemental training, using tools like resistance bands to develop those fast twitch muscle fibres which are essential for these skills.
Basketball resistance bands are the perfect tool for upping your game because they’re so flexible in the way they can be used – you can add resistance to any of the movements you might want to do on the court.
Here are 6 ways you can use resistance bands for basketball training and take your game to the next level:
#1 Use mini resistance bands to improve your movement skills
Mini resistance bands can be looped around your ankles or above the knees. Wearing
them while doing lateral and linear movements builds up the leg muscles you need for fast and effective dribbling.
The great thing with these bands is that the resistance is applied constantly from all angles, instead of just from one angle as with regular weights. So using mini resistance bands for basketball training lets you develop power when moving in any direction.
You can use resistance loops while doing side-to-side shuffles or forward/backwards walking. But the best way to improve your basketball game with mini resistance bands is to wear them while doing your regular movement and dribbling drills, or even wear them while playing a game. This will help you develop explosive power in the specific moves you would use during competitive play.
#2 Use resistance bands to improve your vertical jump
Having a high vertical jump requires explosive power in your legs, especially the quad muscles. Building the power for high jumping is best done with higher repetitions and lighter weights. Doing heavy barbell squats certainly will give you strong legs, but won’t develop on the fast twitch fiber muscles you need to achieve that slam dunk.
Longer bands, like 208cm resistance loops, or long, flat resistance bands are ideal for adding resistance to your jump training. This is because of the versatile way they can be looped around your body and attached onto other objects. As with all other resistance bands, they come in different levels so you can increase the resistance as you get stronger.
Try looping a resistance band around your neck and shoulders, or around your waist, and having two partners stand on each end while you practice jumping high. Training in this way over time will make your legs adapt to the extra resistance and increase their ability to store and release elastic energy. Meaning your airtime will increase.
#3 Use resistance loops to develop explosive sprint power
Getting to the ball first, or reaching the hoop before your opponent, requires explosive sprint power and lightning acceleration. This again depends on your fast twitch fiber muscles. As mentioned, developing these is best done with lighter resistance and high repetitions.
For basketball sprint training, resistance bands are perfect because they can apply horizontal resistance, unlike weights which depend on gravity and so only work on a vertical plane.
Try using two 208cm resistance loops and tying them together. Then attach one end to a fixed object (or have someone hold on to it). Loop the other end around your waist and wear it while you practice sprint drills. You only need to sprint three or four meters, but focus on exploding yourself forward as fast as possible.
#4 Use resistance bands to build core strength for basketball
Perhaps you wouldn’t think it, but resistance bands are actually very effective for building up core strength. And core strength is super important not just for basketball but for any sport. Because a strong core provides the platform from which all other movement occurs.
You can read more about building a strong core in this article. The important thing to note is that doing sit ups is not the best way to work your core muscles, because ideally the exercise should not round your spine, but rather use the muscles that prevent it from rounding.
Doing plank variations with a mini resistance band is an excellent way to gain true core strength, not just in your abdomen but in all the auxiliary core muscles – in the hips, groin, glutes, and back – and you need these for basketball.
#5 Build springy power in your arms and upper body
Passing the ball and shooting effectively requires explosive power in your arms. Doing too much heavy weight training will give you strong arms but doing too much will actually slow you down.
Using resistance bands as an alternative to weights will help you build up springy power in your arms necessary for effective passing and shooting in basketball.
You can also use a resistance tube (pictured), which comes with foam handles and a door anchor. Simply fix the centre of the tube to a door jamb, at any height, and practice passing and shooting movements while holding onto the handles.
#6 Use a glute band to build rock solid hips and thighs
Glute bands are like mini resistance bands except they have much stronger resistance (around 150lb). They’re also fabric coated to prevent them slipping during use.
The super high resistance level makes them too difficult for most people to use for doing fast movement exercises, however once your strength level improves, you’ll find yourself able to move fairly fast while doing forward/backward stepping and sideways shuffling exercises with the band on.
Fabric glute bands will build massive strength in the hips, thighs and glutes. This is important for basketball because of the huge demand which is placed on these areas during competitive play.
You can wear a glute band while doing exercises like squats, glute kickbacks, clamshells and glute bridges to injury-proof yourself and build up awesome lower body strength.
Using resistance bands for basketball training is one of the best ways to improve your game. They’re great for increasing your explosiveness in movement, your agility, balance, strength and stability. And regular training will hugely decrease your chance of injury, one of the biggest fears of any athlete. There are many types of resistance bands – see our full range here and find the one which is best for you!
This article is all about how to get fit fast and what kind of exercises you can do to give yourself a massive cardio boost in just 2 weeks.
Getting fit quickly takes effort, but the kinds of exercises you do will make a huge difference.
I’ve used all of these methods to get back into shape quickly after injury so I know how effective they are. If you do any of these 7 exercise regimens, you can supercharge your aerobic fitness and get fit in a short amount of time.
A word of warning: if you’re starting from a level of zero fitness, if you’re obese, have heart problems, high blood pressure etc, then you definitely need to take it easy and choose a more gentle kind of exercise. You need to think in terms of months, not weeks, to get fit. If in doubt, check with your doctor.
But for anyone who already has some experience in fitness training, has no major health issues and wants to know how to get fit fast after a period of inactivity or injury, read on.
How to get fit fast: 8 ways to give yourself a cardio boost in just 2 weeks
#1 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
The key to getting fit fast is doing exercises which push your cardio system as hard as possible in short bursts. As opposed to doing slow and steady exercise like jogging, which won’t zap your system and stimulate fast adaptation.
Hill sprinting is a classic HIIT exercise. Totally exhausting, sprinting uphill accelerates your heart rate close to its maximum in no time. Doing a few 30 second hill sprints, with short rests between, will burn as many calories as an hour of steady jogging. And the shock to the system of going totally all-out stimulates very rapid cardiovascular adaptation.
Much of the benefit of HIIT is down to Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Doing high-intensity anaerobic exercise causes a high level of oxygen debt. This means that, even several hours after finishing the workout, your calorie expenditure will still be much higher than normal. The overall effect of this is a much bigger boost to your cardio fitness compared to that gained from steady state exercise.
If you want to know how to get fit fast, High Intensity Interval Training should be at the core of your fitness program. It is the most effective way to get fit quickly, in fact all of the exercises in this list are based on HIIT principles – intensive exercise broken up by short rests, as opposed to continuous steady exercise.
Many of you may have been in a gym and, passing by the spinning room, ventured a quick peak inside. Amid the darkness you may have caught glimpses of writhing bodies slathered in sweat, and heard the sounds of pain. You may have wondered what dark and dreadful things happen in that room.
For the uninitiated, spinning simply means exercising on a stationary bike. But, as anyone who has ever attended a class knows, spinning is an entirely different animal to your average exercise bike workout.
A spinning class is an assault on the senses. The room is kept dark with big speakers pumping out heavy bass music, and fluorescent light effects giving the feel of a nightclub. Just being there gives you a rush of adrenaline and brings out the beast in you. It puts you right in the zone, ready to conquer.
Group exercise is one of the best motivators. In a spinning class, you’re surrounded by others doing the same movements as you and going through the same pain. This gives you a huge boost and helps you push yourself further than you ever could on your own.
In spinning, the tempo is constantly varied by the instructor, who faces you at the front doing the exercise with you. Alternating slow and fast pace, high and low resistance makes for an extremely high intensity workout. Instead of idling along at a steady pace, your respiration and heart rate hit peaks – which is the key to getting fit quickly
Calisthenics means exercises done using the weight of your own body instead of any external weights or equipment. Like pull ups, push ups, unweighted squats, sit ups, burpees, leg raises etc etc. The number of exercises are unlimited and the benefits of calisthenics are huge.
OK, so calisthenics is mainly for training strength. But it’s also a superb way to get fit quickly.
How to get fit fast with calisthenics?
Body weight exercises are quite fast recovery, so you don’t need to wait a long time before you’re ready for the next set. They also tend to be fairly high repetition. This makes them an effective anaerobic exercise.
A calisthenics routine for getting fit fast will pack as many exercises as possible into the workout session, with short rests (20-40 seconds) between each set. Use a timer and be strict about the rest periods. The important thing is that each set should focus on a different set of muscles than the previous set.
For example, if you do a set of push ups then the next set should focus on your pulling muscles, so you could do inverted rows. And follow that up with dips, and then pullups. Then maybe hit the abs with some leg raises before going back to push ups again.
What this does is allow you to continue the workout without exhausting any particular muscle group, so you can keep pushing yourself hard. This puts massive demands on your cardiovascular system – within a few minutes of starting this workout you’ll be breathing hard and sweating like mad. Signs that you’re doing it right.
Unfortunately named but superbly effective, fartlek training is one of the best ways to get fit as fast as possible.
Developed by coach Gösta Holmér for the Swedish running team in the 1930s, Fartlek is based on the principle of variable intensity and keeping the athlete’s heart rate at 60-80% maximum. Originally designed for running, Fartlek can, like HIIT, be applied to any kind of exercise.
The main difference between Fartlek and HIIT is that Fartlek is unstructured – instead of fixed intervals, the athlete varies her pace as she likes. The name means “speed play” in Swedish – the freedom you have to vary your pace basically makes it a lot more fun than standard interval training.
A typical Fartlek session includes a slow jog warm up, followed by a steady, hard run and then a fast walk to recover. After this the athlete can mix easy/moderate running with sprinting as he sees fit. Then a cool down at the end.
Fartlek is an awesome way to get fit fast because the varied intensity puts stress on your anaerobic system, while the continuous nature of the workout (you never stop to rest) gives you a great aerobic workout. And by alternating the intensity of the exercise, you burn far more calories than by doing steady exercise.
#5 Circuit Training
Circuit training means doing a series of strength/aerobic exercises one after the other with a short rest in between. As we’ve seen, organizing your workout like this is the best way to get fit fast. Just like with HIIT, you can apply circuit training principles to almost any kind of exercise.
Here I want to talk specifically about circuit training done using gym equipment, ideally in a group with a trainer. Group exercise is the best motivator and having a professional trainer to design the circuit and motivate you ensures you get a great workout.
The best exercises to include in the circuit are ones you would never normally do on your own. Adding variation to your workout stimulates greater gains, and also keeps things interesting. Think unconventional movements done using various equipment like wobble boards, exercise balls, resistance bands and battle ropes.
The exercises in a circuit should complement each other, improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness, as well as balance and strength – without overemphasizing any one muscle group.
How to get fit fast with circuit training: example workout.
If you’ve never heard of CrossFit, where have you been hiding? Invented by Greg Glassman in 2000, CrossFit is a fitness regime combining aerobic exercise with calisthenics and Olympic weightlifting. Since then, the CrossFit brand has grown into a global powerhouse, with over 13,000 gyms worldwide.
Glassman describes CrossFit as “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity”. A typical class usually starts with some simple warm-up exercises, followed by a teaching section where you learn new skills. After this you move onto the workout of the day, which is performed at high intensity. You finish with some stretching.
CrossFit is the MMA of fitness training, borrowing the best techniques from various disciplines. There’s a strong focus on functional fitness and adapting to whatever works best for your specific goals. Crossfit equipment includes traditional calisthenics as well as weightlifting and gymnastics equipment, including:
Training CrossFit regularly is an awesome way for you to get fit fast because of how the exercises constantly vary in intensity and focus. The combination of different exercises like Olympic style weight-lifting, plyometrics, running, swimming, Strongman exercises etc., will continuously challenge your body, forcing it to adapt and get you fighting fit very quickly.
#7 Martial arts
Doing martial arts is one of the best ways to quickly get into shape. Professional fighters are among the fittest people on the planet because of the intense demand competitive fighting has on your cardio system.
Of course, you may be thinking “I’m a lover not a fighter”. Well, so am I. I’ve never been in a serious scrap, but I’ve loved martial arts since I was a kid. Doing martial arts doesn’t mean you have to jump straight into bare-knuckle boxing or no-holds-barred fighting. There are plenty of no-contact martial arts out there, and even martial arts-inspired aerobics classes like Tae Bo.
Studying a martial art, like Karate, boxing or Judo, will get you fit very fast because the movements are done with power and are super demanding on your cardio system. There’s an equal emphasis on upper body, lower body and core conditioning. Practicing martial arts regularly in a good school, you’ll see your strength, flexibility and cardio fitness improve very quickly.
For getting fit fast, you can’t beat competitive martial arts like Brazilian Jujitsu, Muay Thai or sport Karate, because naturally you’ll push yourself a lot harder when you’re competing with someone else. And you’ll have a whole lot of fun doing it.
How to get fit fast: final word
So these are the best 7 ways I know for how to get fit fast. Of course, there are plenty of others out there. The main thing you need to know is that for getting into shape quickly, you need to apply HIIT principles to your workout. Push your body close to it’s limit several times per workout, instead of just going along at a steady pace. This is the key to fast adaptation.
Enjoyed this article? Be sure to check out our other articles and resistance band workouts here.
Choosing the best resistance bands for training your glutes, you have to think about a few different things. Will they last a long time so you don’t have to keep replacing them? Will they slip out of place or roll up your leg when you use them? Most importantly, how well do they isolate your glute muscles and help you build a perfect booty?
There are a whole bunch of different resistance bands on the market which promise to give you amazing buns of steel in no time. We’ve looked at all of them and taken 4 of the very best resistance bands for glutes, based on quality, usability and booty-building effectiveness.
OK, you’ll notice all the bands here are our own brand Atemi Sports Resistance Bands. Of course, there are tons of other brands available which you’re free to choose from. But here are three reasons to go for Atemi:
- We only use top-grade 100% natural Malaysian latex for our bands, which is the best quality material for long-lasting elasticity.
- We’re specialists in resistance bands (it’s all we do), so we know where to get the best quality, and we test the hell out of all our bands.
- All our bands come with in-depth exercise guides including up to 50 of the best exercises. And you can always access our blog page for ideas on how to get the most out of your bands.
So here it is – a countdown of the top 4 best resistance bands for glutes. Four of the very best booty-busting, bubble-butt-building, bum-burning resistance bands, designed to put a perk in your behind and never a dent in your wallet.
Best Resistance Bands for Glutes
These are the cheapest and simplest kind of bands on the market, often used for physiotherapy to add resistance to therapeutic movements. Although they’re not the very best resistance bands for glutes, they make it onto the shortlist because of their sheer versatility and super low price.
With a little ingenuity, these bands can be used to add resistance to literally any movement. You can hook or tie them onto other objects, wrap them around your body or tie them into a loop. One downside is that they don’t last as long as most other bands. But at this price, who cares?
Example Exercise: Lying Kick
Originally designed as pull-up assist bands, these beauties have practically unlimited uses and can be used to work out every single part of your body. They can be anchored to other objects, doubled up and adapted to 1000s of different exercises.
For working your ass, you can use them to make squats harder (no need for weights) or for doing various kinds of glute-kickbacks, deadlifts or lunge movements.
Example exercise: Kneeling Donkey Kick
Almost the perfect glute-building tool, mini resistance bands can be looped around your thighs and used to perform a variety of leg- and bum-building exercises. Their concentric pressure provides focussed resistance on your hips, thighs and glutes, resulting in a beautiful round booty and wide hips.
You can use mini resistance loops while doing squats, lunges and knee raises. For purely isolating your glutes and hips, try doing glute kickbacks, clamshells and bridge thrusts. They’re also surprisingly effective for doing ab exercises.
Example exercise: Glute Kickback
Here it is, the world’s very best resistance band for glutes, hips and thighs. Basically the same as a mini resistance loop except much wider, thicker and with a fabric covering for durability. While most mini bands go up to around 40LB of resistance, this glute band packs a massive 150LB. The result is the toughest glute workout you will ever experience. Not for the faint-hearted.
If you’re new to strength training, it’s better to start with a regular mini resistance band before moving onto a glute band. Once your glute muscles are reasonably strong, you can take things to the next level by using a glute band to supercharge your lower-body workout!
Example exercise: Leaning Kickback